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Essential reading for those who are thinking about getting into Astronomy !


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I've recently come across this piece on the web written by Alan MacRobert from the well known and respected astronomy magazine Sky & Telescope. It is well worth a read if you are thinking of getti

An excellent interesting read! However, not wishing to hijack the thread, if you o back a page, you see this lot too! Sky Publishing Corporation - Guide to Backyard Astronomy Many thanks

Hi all I thought this is related to the subject of this thread but reading the thread I am not sure it is! Is there a section for recommended books for beginners? I have just started this amazing inte

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A very good find that John (Jahmanson)!

Yes, it would be an idea to point ALL newcomers to this guide, as the most common question from them seems to be "which telescope should I buy?"

We have all been there haven't we! We can see that the night sky looks very interesting - even with the naked eye, so the very next thing we want to do is rush out and buy the biggest and most sophisticated scope we can afford, giving no consideration to any other aspect of the hobby (i.e. will the scope be easy to use, portable, or even suitable for me in particular!).

The final result can mean spending a huge amount of money on an instrumant which is hardly ever used, and ends up on e-bay!

So to repeat - the guide you found is excellent John.

Regards,

philsail1

philsail

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A nice refresher, for someone like me, who is (once again) stepping out under the night sky (when I return home in 2 weeks). I do have a rather old reflector, which was good for viewing planets, although I don't know how it has faired these past 10 years or so in the shed.......

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Thanks John that's just put another nail in my ' shall i sell scope and mount and start again with something a bit more user friendly' coffin:confused:

Good read it has taught me a couple of things thanks.

Andy

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That really was an excellent article; being totally new to the subject I could already feel exasperation at how many important decisions there were to be made. I think it shows me that time and patience is best. So I am putting ideas of which Telescope on a back burner and heading out tonight with my son with a sky chart and my binoculars and we can learn together!

The aim eventually is a good grasp of Astrophotography but I think I'll just concentrate on knowing a lot more about Astronomy in general first before getting ideas of perfect pictures of nebulas!

A couple of questions however, being based in Shropshire (near Telford) can anyone recommend a good local site to view the night sky? And is there a local society that I could eventually get in contact with?

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Hi all

I thought this is related to the subject of this thread but reading the thread I am not sure it is! Is there a section for recommended books for beginners?

I have just started this amazing interest and someone bought me a little book for Christmas. I have always been scornful (as an entomologist / birder) for years of the Collins Gem/Mitchell Beazley type of guide but the Collins Gem 'stars' book is really surprisingly useful to me. It has a great summary of the northern and southern constellations, sets out which are double stars, where the galaxies and clusters etc are and also some background and monthly star maps. All of this packs into a book which is about 4 inches tall, three inches wide and half an inch thick. Superb to pack with the bins or small scope on holidays and also cheap at £5. Probably not everyone's cup of tea but for a real starter like me, I think it's a very useful addition to my library and good to accompany my copy of Turn Left at Orion, mainly as it puts the positions of the stars/constellations into perspective. The ISBN is 0-00-717858-1

cheers

Shane

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After Reading the article i thought it's not a bad place to start so i've been looking around the web and found these' Barska 25-125x80mm Zoom Large Astronomy Binoculars | Overstock.com

A little Advice would be great as per cost is this reasonable or too much for my first investment i did find a pair of Bushnell PermaFocus 7x50 (Auto Focus) for £125,the above model seeming a better choice.

With this i will need a pocket Guide, Star Chart to get me started, i'm guessing these are region focused and it would be good if someone could recommend a good guide for the South East UK, i,m from Essex.

Many Thanks

Lee.

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The general advice is to stay away from zoom binoculars. The model you refer to are likely to be heavey and therefore require a sturdy mounting. The high magnification settings will be almost useless unless the binocular is very steady.

I would also stay away from the permafocus model. Fixed focus optics might sound appealing, but are going to be limiting if you intend to use these for anything other than astronomy.

My advice would be to spend your money on something with a 40 - 50 mm objective lens and 7-10 times magnification.

You can get some pretty nice binoculars the £125 of the permafocus, but you can also get a decent set for much less.

Binoculars with magnifications greater than about 10x or with objective lenses bigger than about 50mm may need a mount of some sort to show their best.

FInally, if you're after customised star charts for your specific location consider getting some software for your PC- Cartes du Ciel and Stellarium are both available for download, and allow you to show the night sky as it will appear from your exact location. If you want a good binocular book, I quite like Binocular Highlights (Sky Publishing) it's got some useful advice and some decent and descriptions of what you might see (but it's not specific to your location).

Others on this forum might advise some different books.

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That's a very good article and I'm glad I came across it before I went out and bought a telescope, instead I borrowed a pair of 7X50 binoculars from my father in law and then I was given on permanent loan a telescope that had been gathering dust in their cupboard. I then went to the library and borrowed quite a few of their books, as I didn't want to go out and buy a book that I found difficult to use. I have to say I think I have looked at the moon once or twice with the telescope, but at the moment I am very happy laying on the grass looking up at the sky at the moment. I would eventually would like to astrophotography as I already love my DSLR. And it means the money I was going to spend on my first telescope has been saved towards a telescope later on that is capable of astrophotography.

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Loved that book. I liked the way that not only did it tell what we know but why and how our views have changed. Great book. Hope you enjoy it!

Marc

GREAT book Marc. I REALLY enjoyed it and i know a lot more now then i did before reading it. I'm a bit of a Bill Bryson fan. I just love his humourous take on life and travel and stuff.

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Great stuff Paul. What else do you recomend by Bill Bryson? Loved his style of writing and made everything crystal clear. If I can recomend a further book try 'End of Science' by John Horgan. Real eye opener! The chaoplexity bit was a little over my head though!

Marc

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VERY VERY TRUE.

In fact I have been very lucky and will travel to my real hometowns(father, mother, and my birthplace), and they have very dark skys. Right now I am at my mother's hometown, and the sky is so dark. I found out last night that the part which I enjoyed the most was when I was simply sitting with my legs crossed and using stellarium to enjoy the different constellations and find out how they look like, without using my telescope at all.

I also assumed that astronomy was a hard hobby, but I was interested. I kept begging for a telescope but spent no time actually observing the stars. Thanks for pointing me at the right track.

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