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Newbie questions!

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Hello all!

I was always interested in space and stars and recently became interested to appoint I considered having it as a hobby.

As a person that does some thinking before acting, I thought to do the following:

  1. Buy a good book.
  2. Under no circumstances I would buy a telescope in the beginning. Only after I do some serious studying with the nake eye and binoculars, should I consider buying one.
  3. Step 2 is ultra important and very feasible - if sailors used to do it hundreds of years ago with their naked eyes, so can we/I

As for books, I searched on Amazon and came up with the following:

  • The Backyard Astronomer's Guide
  • Star Watch: The Amateur Astronomer's Guide to Finding, Observing, and Learning About over 125 Celestial Objects
  • NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
  • Stargazing Basics: Getting Started in Recreational Astronomy

From what I read in various threads around the internet, it seem that "Nightwatch" is the way to go, especially for super newbies.

One more thing - I live in Manhattan, New York. So there is going to be some serious light pollution. On my rooftop (above 36th floor), there are still portions of the sky that are obscured by other taller buildings. Going out of the city to someplace "dark" is not practical. Is this going to seriously affect me?

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As another newcomer, I would skip the binocular step. I did it, then had to buy a tripod, as the view was too shaky and as I really wanted a telescope I obviously save money and bought a cheap one, which is pretty useless.

Binoculars could just put you off.

Nightwatch is good. Read it, decide what you want to use it for the most and then buy an appropriate telescope (some are better for some things than for others). Planets or DSOs, viewing or taking pictures, are the two important questions I think.

Lots of good advice on here.

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Hi Gazer and welcome to SGL :)

Turn Left At Orion is a good book introducing you to the joys of stargazing with a medium to small sized scope. It takes you through many constellations and objects showing what they look like and where to find them (and other info). It was written by two backyard astronomers in New York with a 3" aperture refractor. It would make a great start for you bearing in mind where you live.

Hope that helps :mad:

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Hi Gazer, would second brantuk's advice regarding Turn Left at Orion. Not only is appropriate to your location, it also helps you locate the very objects themselves in a nice step by step fashion.

You mentioned in step two that Binos and books would be studied first before purchasing any scope etc. Good idea but may I also suggest that when the time comes, you look through 'potential' scopes first to ensure you know what to be expect and therefore to adjust your choice accordingly. Too many people spend too much money incrementing the kit because they didn't anticipate what they knew what they really wanted - in the longer run (if you can) buying 'good' means only buying once. :)

Clear skies


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