Welcome to stargazingnews.com. As I start the stargazing journey, I look to others who have gone before me to guide me and give me a roadmap (that is starmap :)) that will take me from novice to fully fledged astronomy anorak.
I already have tidbits of knowledge from my Mother who would point to the night sky. “Look”, she would say, “there’s the Big Dipper” or “there’s Orion’s Belt” and I would scrunch up my face in concentration. To this day seeing Orion’s Belt in particular fills me with satisfaction. I mutter under my breath when I see it, “so that’s where I am”.
Anyway the folks at wikiHow have put together 12 steps to help the amateur astronomer embark on this passion inducing hobby. Here are 3 of the steps mentioned.
Start the Stargazing Journey
Join an astronomy club. Amateur astronomy is very popular in most cities and small towns. Search the Internet to find a club in your vicinity or get information by calling a local planetarium. For clubs in the U.S.A., go to http://www.nightskynetwork.org or if you have an iPhone, get Go StarGaze, an app that helps you locate clubs and events. Clubs give you the opportunity to learn from others who have more experience, and to meet and make new friends with other beginners who have the same interest in astronomy.
Attend a star party. Star parties are outdoor meetings where amateur astronomers meet and look at the sky together. Many are already members of an astronomy club. This can be quite interesting, especially since each person might find a new area, star or planet that you might have overlooked.
Subscribe to an astronomy magazine. There are a number of periodicals which cater to amateur astronomers. Among the most popular are Sky and Telescope and Astronomy. These magazines provide monthly calendars, a wealth of sky watching tips, amazing pictures, and up-to-date information on new products and discoveries. Check out the rest of the 12 steps.
I have already taken action on the the three steps above. I joined my local astronomy club. It’s great! There are monthly lectures and plenty of stargazing events. There’s also a monthly magazine. In September, there will be a Star-B-Q. I’m really looking forward to that!
I’m also on the email list and get regular alerts on what’s happening in the heavens. Just this last Wednesday I got an alert to look South-West after sunset to see Saturn and Mars near the Moon. So I went dashing outside to have a look. Very cool.
Are you going to start the stargazing journey or are you already on it? What steps are you taking?
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