The great amateur astronomer Leslie Peltier once suggested a cure for many of the world’s problems is simply “one gentle dose of starlight to be taken each night just before retiring”. If you feel the need for a little starlight these days, there is no better bang for your buck than looking at galaxies. Northern spring is the perfect time for observing these immense collections of billions of stars, hundreds of which lie within easy reach of a small telescope (thousands if you’re using a camera instead of an eyepiece) [Read more…] about Edge-On Spirals Galaxies in the Northern Spring SkyShare This:
Recent Astronomy Articles at Cosmic Pursuits
Binoculars are inexpensive, simple and easy to use, and yet bring in thousands of objects within our own Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. As you learned in the last article in this series, every stargazer should own a pair.
But there may come a time when you want to see more, when you want to see objects brighter and bigger and farther way. That’s when you want to consider a telescope.
A short word of advice here first…
Many beginners who buy a telescope before learning the basics of what to see in the sky (and how to see it) usually get frustrated and give up astronomy before they barely get started. It’s like someone who wants to learn to sail starting out on a 40-foot three-masted schooner. It’s just too complicated and it leads to frustration. By learning a little background first, new stargazers can make their experience with their first telescope rewarding, and quite frankly, life changing (in a good way).
So how do you know if you’re ready to buy and use a telescope? Here’s a subjective list of 10 things you need to know and do before you take the leap into telescopic observing [Read more…] about Ten Things to Know and Do Before You Buy a TelescopeShare This:
Every stargazer needs a pair of binoculars. Unlike most telescopes, binoculars are easy and intuitive to use. They produce a right-side-up image and a large field of view, which makes it easy to aim them at an object and find what you’re looking for. And they don’t need any time to set-up and align. You just grab them and head outside under the stars. Binoculars are especially useful for seeing large craters on the Moon, the moons of Jupiter, the occasional comet, close groupings of the Moon and planets at sunrise and sunset, and, once you know how to find them, larger star clusters and groupings of stars all over the sky. In this article, you learn how to choose and use a reasonably-priced pair of binoculars for astronomy [Read more…] about How to Choose Astronomy BinocularsShare This:
Before we launch into the pros and cons of the types of telescopes available to stargazers today, let’s have a quick look at 5 key numbers that describe the operation and performance of every telescope, from the junk scopes in a department store to the venerable Hubble Space Telescope. Once you understand these 5 numbers, you will understand the similarities and differences between telescopes, and you will know how to choose the best scope for your own interests and budget [Read more…] about The Five Numbers That Explain a TelescopeShare This:
Here we cover an essential but often overlooked point about telescopes. It may seem strange to cover this, but once you understand this point, you’ll understand the trade-offs involved in choosing a good telescope for stargazing. The fact is, most beginners believe the purpose of a telescope is to magnify objects, to make them appear bigger. This is not true. What, then, is the purpose of a telescope? [Read more…] about The Purpose of a TelescopeShare This: