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.