I remember first getting interested in Astronomy years ago. I’d look up at the sky and just say “wow!” Had no idea what I was looking at as a kid. Didn’t know what shapes were what, couldn’t even tell what was a star and what was a planet. Then, around 15 years old, I finally got the drive to actually want to know something. Thankfully, I have an Uncle who’s been a pretty serious hobbyist most of his life, so he got me started. I would bug him whenever I got the opportunity and just ask question after question about how things worked. Why I can see this, but not that. When does this happen, etc.. He also hooked me up with some Sky Maps and other stuff to get me started. So I figured I’d pass along some of the good pieces to start with. Even before you get a telescope, you can have fun learning the skies, so here’s a little kit to start you off.
Now, I always pack a Green Laser Pointer with me. You can’t use red because the beam isn’t strong enough to let you see what you are pointing at. With green, or rather, any color other than red, you actually see the beam shine all the way to the object you’re trying to point out. This is great for helping me show my son or a group of friends to Orion, Polaris, or whatever else I’m trying to show.
When you stay out in the dark long enough, you let your eyes acclimate to the darkness. This lets you see so much more. Far enough away from the big city, and from the street and house lights is when it really gets interesting. The last thing you want to do when it’s getting good is turn on some bright flashlight to blind you. It’s always good to bring along a red light to help you find your way. Red is easier on the eyes and won’t affect the dilation of the pupil so you won’t require more time to readjust.
With the astronomy tips above, anyone can get started on the night skies. If you can get interested with just that, then you know investing in a good telescope will open the door to even more starlight adventures. I’ll share more about telescopes in my next post. Keep watching!!