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What is there to look at?

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New to astronomy observing, so reading what I can to get a better idea. A question that gets asked alot - what do you want to see/do?

And that is where I am stuck.

With the inclusion of the obvious moon and planets, I am not sure what else there is to see with modest equipment. I know there are countless object, and with a Hubble I'd be laughing but, is there an easy list with descriptions/ pictures and equipment required to view it? Of a few hundred objects? Modest meaning under 400 notes.

Is there links or recommends to sites (or books) that will give that information.

I am trying to work out where I will view from (mostly), space/ storage requirements, other equipmentt needed but other than the local solar system, which I want to see, I don't know much about how much and what else is available to see up there (which may help decide on eventual telescope purchase) :)

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There is much indeed that you can see, all one needs is a sense of wonder and the right books! I can recommend "Turn left at Orion" especially the newest version. With this in hand, it will open a whole new world for you!

There are programs that can help you as well such as Stellarium that you can download for free. It will give you a very detailed look at what is out there with a touch of your mouse. Being on this forum will also help you very much.

Good luck with your new passion and may the night sky be soon your friend!


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Does Turn left at Orion tell you about equipment needed? I figure if I can build up a list of objects I 'must see' (other than generally scanning about), I may be in a better position to decide on a scope. Just now, like others, I am looking at quite a few across the range refractor, reflector and Maks. I know some of the requirements, just don't know what I will 'have to see' which knowing will help in the purchase.

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Another vote for Turn Left At Orion which will take you through your first 100 objects in a very explanatory way. It tells you what's up there, how to find it, and what you can expect to see. Also loads of object info and other stuff too.

To understand the constellations and seasons you can't beat the center page pull outs in Astronomy Now or Sky at Night magazines. Gives a monthly guide to objects, how they move, and what type of equipment you'll see them with best.

Hope that helps :)

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Thanks, I think TLAO is on the list of must reads. I'll start making my own notes taken from things in a astro mag that I'd like to see. From there, post on the scopes I am thinking about to get some SGL opinion.

I know there is a lot up there, but for someone new, it's a bit like tidying up the kids bedrooms - where do you start!


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Have a read of TLAO and just pick a target and go for it.

If you can see through the cloud that is...

One of the great things about astronomy is not just the viewing but also understanding what is out there and what you are looking at. That helps to while away those grey hours but also makes the viewing all the more exciting.

Keep an eye out for the new Wonders of the Universe programme with Prof Cox. That should wet your appetite.

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You can also start closer to home - watch the moon. Search online for a lunar atlas and find a few names craters - it gets addicting. Move on to the bigger planets and then a few deep space objects (DSOs). Nothing like seeing Saturn or the Orion nebula for the first time.

Eventually you'll find yourself ticking off finds on the Messier List with a growing sense of accomplishment.

Cheers and dark skies.

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