Astronomy Guide: Tools, Tips and Equipment to Start Stargazing | Space.com
A beginner’s guide to amateur astronomy including basic tools as well as optional and aspirational equipment for more experienced stargazers.
When dedicated stargazers venture outside to enjoy the night sky, they bring their telescopes, binoculars and various well-considered pieces of observing gear away from city lights and into the cool dark of night to catch sight of cosmic objects. But how can the average person get started on their way toward becoming an expert skywatcher? Begin by simply looking up, according to one intrepid stargazer.
“If you’re just getting started in astronomy, the best thing to do is to first spend some time under the stars with just your eyes and get acquainted with the brighter stars and constellations,” says Space.com skywatching columnist Joe Rao. “Purchase a good sky guide and star chart. Just as you might consult a travel book when sightseeing in an unfamiliar city, a good book on stargazing or a simple finder chart will go a long way to help you familiarize yourself with the night sky.”
It’s almost always worth setting up shop at your chosen skywatching site before it gets dark, Rao adds. Stargazers also need a gameplan for a rewarding night of skywatching. Rao suggests putting together a checklist of cosmic sights to see for the night. Specialized skywatching software can aid in that hunt.