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First "official" star gazing experience


neurostar

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So I've been patiently waiting for a clear night to start star gazing and tonight I finally received my wish!

I've always been mystified by the stars and by thoughts of what lies beyond earth. It was so awesome to be able to actually study and observe celestial bodies in real life. :) I definitely believe I will stick with this hobby!

So to set up, I had a lawn chair, 8x30 binos, a sky map, and a flash light to take peaks at the sky map. Very warm night but I still wore jeans and a sweatshirt so I wouldn't be attacked by bugs as much :P

I started off by finding the big dipper. After this I was able to adjust my sky map accordingly. I tried to find several of the bright stars in the sky and I happily identified vega, arcturus, and polaris.

I think I found Saturn but I couldn't be positive. It was just awesome though to star hop around the night sky and observe different stars and star clusters.

I think a stronger pair of binos would be nice or a telescope, but those purchases will probably have to wait awhile. It would have been nice to confirm if I found saturn if I could have seen the rings via a telescope.

The one negative thing about my start to star gazing was I was all alone in my quest. So, I couldn't confirm if what I was seeing was actually what I thought it was, or if I missed something. Though it was incredibly peaceful and relaxing nonetheless :)

Overall, I really enjoyed observing the night sky even though all I had was limited knowledge and a weakish pair of binos. I hope I can continue to learn more about astronomy and become more proficient in finding celestial objects.

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Hi neurostar,

Later on in the year, in the early hours, you'll get to see Mars and Jupiter - both should be quite identifiable through your bins. If you're not using it already try 'Stellarium', a great piece of free software. This will help you out no end too - esspecially if you have a laptop you can take out with you.

Also, try using a red torch as this won't affect your night vision so much.

You don't need a telescope or powerful bins to enjoy the hobby as you've found out but I won't lie - it opens up whole new vistas.

You're lucky you had clear skies - I've been waiting for what seems like ever for another night out. :(

Best wishes for your next obs session :)

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I'll look forward to being able to see Mars and Jupiter :)

I do have Stellarium but I never thought of taking it out with me during stargazing! That should make things much simpler!

Yes, I'm hoping to start with just my bins to tide myself over until I get a telescope. It is a fun hobby just to see even the more visible stars!

Good luck on your future star gazing and I hope the skies clear up for you soon!

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Well done neurostar, nice to get out for the first time and enjoy it. Don't worry about not knowing if you have the right object in your eyepiece, you will soon realise and learn where the main objects are. Regarding being on your own, see what clubs/societies are in your area, make contact and go on from there. After awhile you will soon realise that when you are with people you talk about the equipment you have and what you seen but when you are actually star gazing you tend to be on your own lost in the eyepiece oblivious to your sourroundings :).

Jim

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