Posted on February 11th, 2012
Archived in Getting Started
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Buying Your First Telescope
The 8th Annual Young Astronomer Program (YAP)
We all have to start somewhere
I’m a relative newbie. Got started about a yr ago. Some ideas/thoughts to include in this post (let me know if you’re looking for a writer :-))
– A telescope is not required. Start with looking up at the sky using a book about constellations – like H.A. Rey.
– Get started by going to star parties
– Web sites of interest:
I like EarthSky’s Tonight section – simple articles telling you what to look for tonight (and you can look for stuff that was out yesterday too :-)). Geared toward the newbie without a scope, but even experienced folks can learn. http://earthsky.org/tag/es-tonight
CalSky has a good (configurable) list of “stuff” to look for as well – this one is more for folks with scopes.
Turn Left at Orion
Starwatch (Phil Harrington)
Backyard Astronomer’s Guide (good section on selecting a scope)
My 12 year old son and I borrowed a telescope and went on our first outing last night. We live in Reading, and had trouble finding a suitable viewing location (e.g. street lights nearby). Any suggested North Shore viewing locations you can share?
I live in North Reading, on a limited-frontage lot so that in my back yard the light pollution is down to a dull roar (esp. if I ask my one neighbor to switch off their outside lighting.) So if you don’t want to go far, you’re welcome to try my back yard some evening, and I’ll join you in a small observing session!
For darker skies yet, Veasey Memorial Park in Groveland (where NSAAC meets) has incredible horizons all around and is relatively dark…but be sure to go when other club members have converged, so that the “death ray” and other lighting fixtures get turned off.
The best site I’ve found yet, within an hour (about 50 minutes for me, an hour for you) is at Halibut Point State Park, where the GAAC goes to observe. I’ve spent two evenings there over the past month. A few nights ago, the milky way was plainly evident. Again, though, only go out there when GAAC members are going, because there’s some politics going on with the new ranger on duty… “safety in numbers”, lol.
Feel free to contact me directly if I can be of help in any way: leor at bdsoft.com (and be prepared to deal with a SpamArrest nag email the first time you email me.)
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