What’s really out there?
What is our place in the vastness of the universe?
How do stars form, burn and finally fade away?
These are the kinds of questions that astronomers, both professional and amateur, ask themselves. Their primary tool has for centuries been the telescope: a device that allows us to see distant objects clearly by making them look bigger.
This is done by concentrating light passing through a wide area into a smaller volume. One way of doing so is to use convex lenses, where the middle is thicker than the sides of the lens, to focus the light; curved mirrors can also achieve the same result. This allows you to view objects that are not only thousands but millions of millions of miles away from Earth – in fact, since even light takes time to travel that far, you’re literally looking back millennia into the past.
Astronomy as a science is split into two main branches: observational and theoretical. The theoretical side is concerned with questions like “how” and “why”; it involves a huge amount of hard, hard math. Observational astronomy is a lot more fun and much more accessible to the average person.
Astronomy for Everyone
While there are a number of books and online resources (including this one!) that can help you get started and enrich your viewing experience, you don’t really have to know anything at all to participate in this fun hobby. Even people with a minimal base of knowledge and experience can jump right in.
All you really need is a telescope. There’s a huge range of models available that cater to any skill level and budget. Many of them feature easy-to-use controls and guides that will help you map out the skies.
This allows you to enjoy the vista of the night sky like never before: explore the craters of the moon, try to spot Saturn’s rings or see if you can get a clear view of the Crab nebula. This, in a small way, places you in touch with the mysteries of the universe. Depending on how much work you’re willing to put in, you may even be able to see the effects of mysterious entities like black holes, dark matter and neutron stars. Who knows, you might even be able to make an important discovery of your own!
This website is intended to set you on the right path. We’ll tell you a little bit about how telescopes work and how to select the best ones, explain how to use them and even touch on some of the more exotic aspects of astrophysics. If you’ve ever been interested in scientific topics, you’ll probably find something interesting here.
Where to Start
Have you ever wondered what Saturn’s rings look like? Or wanted to see a star up close? These wishes are shared by astronomers and other scientists. In order to fulfill these fantasies, they use telescopes to see these objects and study them from the Earth.
Telescopes are tools that are designed to help you see distant objects. They use glass or mirror in order to expand the image through reflection or refraction. Depending on the type of telescope, some even come with special sensors to detect non-visible waves.
Since there are so many types of telescopes, it is important to find the best telescope for your viewing needs. Finding the best scope for you will allow you to best see your targets without hulling around unnecessary weight.
For most viewing purposes, you will want to find a reflective light telescope. Reflective scopes use visible light waves so we can see the objects with our own eyes. They use mirrors as the reflecting agent and can be very thin, lightweight, and easy to clean.
Another popular scope is the refraction light telescope. Like the reflective scope, the refraction scope uses visible light that we see with our eyes. This scope differs in how it uses lenses, as opposed to mirrors, to enlarge the distant objects.
There are other telescopes that detect nonvisible waves, too, but you won’t use them outside of an observatory. These scopes are amazing because they allow us to see and measure objects that are completely unseen to the naked eye. Radio telescopes, infrared telescopes, and ultraviolet telescopes are just a few scopes that detect what the eye can’t see.
Top Sources on the Web
Obviously, this small hobby site won’t be able to answer all your questions. It’s made to introduce some common astronomy terms, but there are far more websites
Here are some of the sources we recommend when you’re new to exploring the universe:
17 Different Types of Telescopes & Their Uses
Top 12 Best Telescopes for Aspiring Astronomers
Best Astronomy Books for Beginners
Top 10 Deep-Sky Objects for Stargazers
Of course, there is much more information to be found about astronomy, but, unlike many of the scientific sources, these are newbie-friendly sources that will help you get in the game of stargazing without any headaches. It’s a great hobby, but you have to start at your own pace.
Good luck, and have fun!