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Hi my boyfriend is really into astronomy. I would love to share this with him but I know nothing about it. Where do I begin?

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Hi.

A good place to start is to get some 10x50 binoculars and learn your way around the sky.

Even using bins can show some interesting objects in the night sky.

Download the free software Stellarium, it will help you locate various things of interest.

And keep asking questions on here, lots of members will help you as much as they can.

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Seems like the most intuitive way to go about things, is to simply ask him to mentor you. :(

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Hello,

the best thing to do is ask your bf questions. there's nothing better than having a girl ask you questions about something that you like! Even if it sounds like your asking him a dumb question (i'm not implying that your stupid here!!) ask it anyway.

You may find that if your in a cafe or bar then he'll demonstrate with condiments and drinks etc (my fav. trick, and it gets the point across well a la Brian Cox)

If you find yourself liking astronomy then theres a few routes to go down:

a) i'd start off purchasing (or lending from a library) a simple astronomy book (such as a star atlas). Nothing too complex, just something that explains the basics like what the major constellations are, the order of the planets, astronomical distances etc, just so you have a rough idea of things in the night sky.

:( get yourself onto bbc.co.uk/iplayer and search for BBC 2's 'The Wonders of the Solar System' its a good series and on episode 4 at the mo, its easy to understand and the presenter (prof. Brian Cox) isn't your stereotypical adenoids physicist, he's pretty cool and makes space funky! (can't believe I said that). Fair enough the program only looks at the solar system but its a good start.

Avoid programs like Horizon, they take an hour to explain nothing!

c) look for a computer program such as Voyager 4.5 by Carina Software or Stellarium, software like this allows you to have a replica of the night sky on your desktop, you can choose your location and time and it will accuratly show you what constellations, planets, galaxies etc can be found from where you are.

d) as said before, maybe invest in a large pair of binoculars (bino's), they aren't too expensive these days. binoculars provide 2 things

i) magnified view of the stars, if you can find the milky way in a dark location and look with the naked eye you will see a white/grey band across the sky, look through binoculars you will see thousands and thousands of stars....its impressive!

ii) they are much more portable and cheaper, than a telescope

Good luck (i want a gf who takes an interest in astronomy now, ha ha)

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Hi, welcome to the forum

maybe invest in a large pair of binoculars (bino's), they aren't too expensive these days.

A couple of weeks ago Lidl were doing 10x50 binos for £14. I got a pair and they are good (extremely good for the price). Don't know if they are still on sale, but possibly worth a look.

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First of all I'm sure he'll enjoy your interest, and most important, I hope you enjoy it too. My wife ain't much into astronomy, at least not as much as me, but she joins me outside often and loves to see the solar system objects and some of the main deep sky objects (DSOs for short, these are galaxies, nebulas and star clusters). I can tell you I always enjoy her company.

Amateur astronomy is focused on knowing the sky, learning to locate things, either by memory or with the help of maps and software, and have some understanding of what your looking at. As mentioned before the best way to learn how to locate things is to download a planetarium software such as stellarium that will show you a replica of your sky at any given time/location.There are others but stellarium is easy to get used to, free and very good.

A starwheel haves the same function and can be used outside as an aid. To locate things you can just use your eyes. A pair of cheap binos will allow for a better view and eventually a telescope will make that views even better. You can make a star wheel at home for free, download here.

As to understanding a bit of what your looking at, the suggested TV shows give you a good knowledge. Besides the ones suggested you can try "the universe". Some episodes are on youtube (low quality) and it's easy to find them online. To have an idea on how we locate things, borrowing a copy of "Turn Left at Orion" from your local library will help you a lot too.

I'm guessing you want to gain some knowledge to avoid making questions he may think are basic, but I think most amateurs like to share their hobbies and I'm sure he will enjoy explaining you what he knows.

Edited by pvaz

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Ask the b/f - I was the other way round though. I was mad on astro he liked rugby but he did buy me a scope - once I had that he was redundant :(

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Go for a romantic stroll under a clear sky and ask him to show you the constellations.

Now Phil, don't go confusing the poor girl by making her think she is ever going to see a clear sky again once she gets into astronomy :(

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Now Phil, don't go confusing the poor girl by making her think she is ever going to see a clear sky again once she gets into astronomy :(

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there. :D

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I'd say dont fake an interest. I know its hard for people on here to believe but some people dont like astronomy. It can be a cold frustrating hobby and the best relationships thrive on truth. By all means be supportive. Dont moan if B/F says "seeing conditions are great tonight, Im off to stand in a cold dark field for 4 hours, do you mind?"

My own wife has no interest especially after the "Gnasher Incident" as its known in this house. Her first time looking through a scope was kinda spoiled by my pet cat (Gnasher) dropping a live mouse in my lap. Panic ensued and she has never looked near my scope since.

If however you are interested then you have came to the right place.

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On cold clear nights make him cups of hot tea/coffee - offer to help carry any heavy telescopes/mounts - do all the computer processing in registax/photoshop for his astro pictures - and when he spends £100 on a second hand eyepiece just say "wow you got a great bargain there" and smile - he'll soon appreciate your interest lol

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Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm in the process of downloading Stellarium, just need to find out my co-ordinates.

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Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm in the process of downloading Stellarium, just need to find out my co-ordinates.

A really easy way to find your coordinates, and those of any place you may be visiting, it to use google earth, at the bottom of the screen it displays the coordinates of the point where the cursor is, very useful indeed.

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Good luck, feel free to ask any questions on this forum.

If you hover over the left side of the Stellarium screen then you will be presented with a toolbar which has a few options on it (location, time, objects etc). From my own memory, by default it only shows the brightest stars, you can enter the toolbar on the left side and choose to have constellation lines and names showing aswell as increasing (or decreasing) the number of deep sky objects and planets. Its quite easy to use, if you think you have done something wrong then just close it down and start again :(

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Thanks for all your suggestions. I'm in the process of downloading Stellarium, just need to find out my co-ordinates.

If you visit Geocoder you can put in your post code and it'll give tell you your latitude/longitude in decimal format. Copy/paste those values into the pink box on this Lat/Long Converter and it'll give you your latitude/longitude in deg/min/sec format for you to use in Stellarium.

Welcome to SGL.

Peter

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Hi Collegegirl,

A very warm welcome to you and your BF, enjoy the forum.

John.

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hi and welcome to this expensive and very addictive hobby !

you say you know nothing,

welcome to the club !

i`ve been looking up for aa year now and still know nothing, i can never remeber the names of stars, only the familiar ones and it still takes me ages to set up but when you look at some of the sites in the night sky you realise why you do it.

most of all have fun.

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