Amateur Astronomy - Getting Started

Getting Started

The first and easiest step into the hobby of Astronomy is to identify the stars with the naked eye. There are many stars which can be identified with the naked eye. Find a quiet place without any lighting.

Look up at the night sky. It may take some time for you to get used to the darkness. The sky may become gradually clearer after a few seconds. Planets such as Venus and Mars are also visible to the naked eye. 

Looking up and identifying the easy stars such as the pole star (Polaris) and constellations such as Orion and the Great Bear can be a good start. Get Started with Fellow amateur astronomers in your locality. Get Astronomy Guides which have detailed maps and steps to locate the common stars and planets. 

Astronomy Clubs

Astronomy Clubs are voluntary groups of people with a shared interest in astronomy. Astronomy clubs can be found in almost all major towns and cities across the world. With the internet, there are numerous groups on social networking sites which work together to further their hobby. You can join one of these in your town. It is great to meet and socialise with people who share your interest.  

Astronomy Clubs have their calendar of activities. They also arrange for activities based on special astronomical events like a comet shower or an eclipse.

Getting your Sky Chart for Astronomy

A sky chart is a map of the night sky over a period of time. Most sky maps are dated over months. Astronomical magazines and websites publish maps of the night sky every month. Sky charts are different for different places on the earth.

There are charts on the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere and the Equatorial Regions. Sky charts also list down the different objects which can be seen with the naked eye, with binoculars and with telescopes.

Skycharts today are available for free download at many internet sites.

Mobile Apps for Astronomy

With the advent of the smartphone, astronomy has become easier than ever. Special software which can be downloaded to your phone identifies your location through GPS and generates the nightsky for your location for the current date.

Such apps also name the object and makes it easy for the amateur astronomer to identify them. They also specify objects which can be seen with the naked eye and with binoculars and with the telescopes.

Just point your smartphone at the sky and the app generates the map for you. Just look-up and try to identify the objects.


Astronomy Magazines

There are many astronomy magazines.  It is good to subscribe to them.  Astronomy Magazines help you keep abreast of the latest news in the field of Astronomy and new viewing techniques such as new telescopes, popular mobile apps. etc.

There are many magazines which your can subscribe to