There are millions of people who want to become astronomers, to look up at the night sky and try to discover what might be lurking in the cosmos.
But for those who want to do more than just look up at the night sky and play around with a telescope, there are ways to take steps to become a true amateur astronomer. From joining groups to getting the right equipment to choosing the right location, these tips will master the chances of being able to see the night sky.
The American Association of Amateur Astronomers
This quadruple “A” group has been an online haven of resources and guidance since 1996, offering news on the space industry. Their store also offers journals to help observers read up on what exactly they could be looking at when they peer through the telescopes.
They also offer a kit for beginner astronomers, filled with star charts, kits, binoculars, and even predicted dates for comets and meteor showers. Other programs also include a list of significant things that all amateur astronomers should observe in their lifetime, with tips to ensure that they all get to be observed.
The right type of gear
Believe it or not, having the highest powered telescope isn’t the way to get started in astronomy. The best way to get started is to simply look up. By training the eyes to look into stars and by mapping out the constellations, it can then lead to research to figure out what exactly is being watched.
Then there are different types of telescopes. Some are particularly good for getting a glance at the sky and zooming in and out, while others are practically mobile computers that can pinpoint exactly where in the world the telescope is looking and at what star or planetary body it is gazing at.
Some telescopes can even work in your mobile device and can be run from a tablet or phone with no trouble. Still, whichever one ends up being chosen, it’s important to ensure that it is durable and able to get a good view of the skies’ beauty.
The right place
Not all places are created equal, and this is especially apparent when it comes to stargazing. While backyards and small towns are very good for amateur stargazing, most people will eventually want to graduate and put their powerful technology for a test drive.
Several national parks, such as Big Bend, are often good choices for stargazers as these places have been untouched by nature and by artificial light. Spending an evening under those stars will show the power of the night sky like nothing else.
Observatories that are open to the public are also great places to see the stars up close and even observe planets with some real high powered machinery.
While stress about having the right gear and supplies for this hobby shouldn’t be a part of the stargazing experience, being knowledgeable about the right toys and places to practice astronomy will only make it more fun.