Stargazing, No I Don't Mean The Hollywood Type!

Three Stargazers

Stargazing is super simple, just walk outside at night and look up! Well, thats the simplest version of this pastime. Add a pair of binoculars or a telescope and you will greatly increase the number of objects that can be seen in the night sky.

Once in a Blue Moon Astronomy is likely to be one of the very oldest forms of scientific study. Historical evidence dates it back to the Babylonians about 4000 years ago. Although, I expect humans have been looking up at the stars much further back than that. What do you think?


As a result of the earths rotation you can see different things from the same location on different nights. There are 88 named constellations that on a clear moonless night can be seen. In fact, depending on conditions you can see more than 1000 stars. Usually you will be able to see five of the solar system's nine planets along with countless star clusters, galaxies and comets.

Jupiter Using easy to find star maps you can find and track the constellations. There are numerous books, maps and on-line sources for the information you need to make this a really rewarding pastime.

I have to warn you that if you live in a big city your stargazing experience will be diminished somewhat. This is due to the problem of light pollution caused by light either shining upward or being reflected upward. This unused light hits dust particles in the atmosphere and brightens the sky. This can make all but the brightest stars disappear. So help us all by turning out those unneeded lights!

Star Chart of Andromeda Constellation

Even if light pollution impacts your at home viewing, you usually can get away from it by traveling outside the city a distance. These excursions can in themselves be a wonderful experience. If you have an RV things are great!

Refracting Type Telescope To help you learn what you are looking at, print out from one of the websites listed below, some current star charts. Look for groupings like the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Orion, and from there the North Star. Once you find one major constellation you can use your charts to find others in relative position to those you know.

Reflecting Type Telescope

So, getting more interested? May be time to take the next step up. Get yourself a telescope. There are three basic types of telescopes. The refracting telescope which uses a convex lens and an eyepiece to gather and magnify the light. Second is a reflecting telescope which uses a concave mirror to gather light and focus it. The third is type of reflecting telescope that uses a correcting lens.

The Crab Nebula As a stargazing beginner, select a simple but good quality telescope to start with. When you get to the point of wanting the opportunity of viewing the sky through a more powerful telescope, consider joining a stargazing organization or club that holds regular outings.

So, its time to get started!

Great Tips For Beginners!

Some Items To Help You Get Started:

Some Other Resources To Help You Get Started:

Astronomy.Com Website

Astronomy Clubs


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