New to Astronomy / Just got your first Telescope???

This section is for the beginner in the hobby! You chose one of the coolest hobbies around that can provide a lifetime of enjoyment!!!

I'm just getting into astronomy, where to I start???

If you are new to the hobby: WELCOME!!! This is certainly a hobby that can spark a lifetime of interest in discovering the universe we live in and passion for an array of different telescopes/equipment!  My personal journey in astronomy started when I was about 12 years old when I got my first scope; a Tasco 60mm refractor(saved for working as a paperboy). Over the years I have had the privilege in owning over 100 telescope and more accessories then one can count!

Below is a list of valuable recourses that I wish I had when I was getting into astronomy and buying my first telescope!


What telescope should I buy???

Interested in astronomy and not sure where to star telescope wise? 


I Just got my first telescope!!!

If you just got your first scope this is the video to watch for you!!!


I already have a scope, what eyepiece should I buy?

So you already own a telescope and ready to upgrade your eyepiece?


What other astro gear do I need(and don't need)?

So you already own a telescope and wondering what else you need?


What do I point my telescope at and how?

So, you already own a telescope and ready to get outside and use it? What do you actually look at and how? This is the section for you! 

There are countless apps and paper recourses to help you locate objects in the night sky! My favorite by far is SkySafari!

SkySafari 7 | Professional Astronomy Telescope Control Software for iOS (skysafariastronomy.com)

If you do prefer paper a couple of very good star atlases that I have personally used for years are:

A great pocket size guide: Field Guide to the Night Sky (National Audubon Society Field Guides): https://amzn.to/3eujRUU

Amazing full-size star atlas: Sky Atlas 2000.0: https://amzn.to/3rhfkfn If you get the Atlas you really need to also get the companion guide: https://amzn.to/34siKD3

After getting one of the above to be able to find things in the night sky(or using the GOTO of your scope) what are some great object lists to work through? Answer is simple, I would of course start with the Messier objects! Messier object – Wikipedia

I have personally observed all of the Messier Objects and a very large portion of the NGC / IC catalogs and the Messier objects are some of the best in the sky! There are a few that Mr. Messier did miss that are real eye candy type of objects so that is not all there is to see even with a small scope. Once done with the Messier objects I would HIGHLY recommend checking out the observing programs at: The Astronomical League

Log / Sketch Your Observations

Keeping a log and/or sketching your observations is an excellent way to track your progress in the hobby. Sketching the objects that you see through the eyepiece will help you see more detail in them as it forces you to actually study what the telescope is showing you! These are the observing logs that I use personally. Figured I’d share them with the community!

OBSERVING LOG (PDF)

SKETCH OBSERVING LOG (PDF)

 

What about astrophotography?

Not sure if you want to do visual or astrophotography? Check out the video below. Know that you want to get into astrophotography? Check out AstroBackyard: Beginner Astrophotography Tips: How to Get Started (astrobackyard.com)

Must Bookmark Recourses

Ok so you have the basics down, where do you go from here? Well get out and use your scope! LOL. One of the best ways to do this is to join your local Astronomy Club!

The must know online astronomy places that I visit all the time:

www.cloudynights.com – Online forums and astro gear classifieds. This one is a must!

www.astromart.com – Astro gear classifieds and reviews. Does cost $15 to do the classifieds but can be worth it if your looking for/selling some gear. 

skyandtelescope.org -This is a great magazine but I also enjoy their web site for highlights on current happenings in the night sky!

astroleague.org – Already mentioned above but deserves to be here also. The observing programs here are amazing and will really push you to see all there is to see in the night sky!