How to make the most of your stargazing endeavors


Polluted skies are awful, and there’s no denying that they can ruin the entire experience of a stargazer. That’s why I usually take my equipment and drive out of town in case I want to have a good look at the celestial objects that interest me. Recently, I’ve taken to going out with my son, and I like that we can do a bit of bonding while I tell him the basics of optics, physics, space, and all that jazz.

The first thing you have to do, in my opinion, if you want to make sure that everything goes as planned, is to find a place that’s really dark. You can see a lot more if the sky is less polluted with light, so make sure to retire to some spots such as a state park or any open area where there aren’t too many buildings, street lights, or the chance of traffic is unlikely.

The next tip I would suggest is studying constellations. You don’t even need an expensive telescope to look at stars, but you may want to know which ones you’re looking at. Some of the basic star groupings you might want to know are the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, and Cassiopeia, as you can use them as indicators for the other stars and planets.

I also recommend going online and searching for several forums. It’s much likely to get some help from someone who is passionate about the same topic as you than to ask around in hopes that some of your friends might be into your hobbies. Most stargazers out there are nice people, and they can help you do a lot of things, be they picking the right beginner’s telescope, finding the perfect places to watch the sky at night, or getting additional lenses and accessories.

Above all, I think that it is important to emphasize that you first have to find out as much as you can about the equipment you own and only then use it outdoors. What I mean by this is that, once you have purchased a telescope, you need to take some time to get accustomed to it and learn how to use it by reading the owner’s manual. Everyone knows this, to be sure, but hardly anyone does it.

If you own a photo camera and you haven’t taken the time to read the manual, you might not be able to make the most of it. And that’s a shame, given that amazing pictures can be taken even with the most basic models of digital cameras. Get to know your telescope and be patient with yourself and with the device and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s worthless just because you haven’t yet learned how to use it.

Several things you need to know about telescopes for beginners



If you’re looking to purchase a telescope but you’ve hardly had any experience with using such a device up until now, I believe this post can be of help. I’m going to give you some pieces of advice that you can hopefully use when shopping for other types of equipment, as well. If you can spare the time, it wouldn’t hurt if you took a few minutes to read the following paragraphs.

Beginners telescopes aren’t as complex as those destined for advanced users. Even their names suggest this, so the first thing you need to do is keep calm and carry on. Most of the models I have personally considered when getting my first telescope were those that came with an aperture of about 70mm. Why’s that?, you might ask. Well, this aperture is basic yet versatile, in that you can use the telescope for looking at several planets, the moon, and a couple of stars here and there. Anything lower than 70mm would be unsatisfactory, at least for me.

The fact of the matter is that reading about the best telescopes for amateurs is one of the activities you have to engage in. Organize a research process and schedule that allows you to make the best decision for you and your family. Also, consider the fact that you won’t be the one using the telescope all the time. Who knows if one of your kids starts to develop an interest in science and astronomy, at some point or the other?

I was a bit more organized than some of my buddies. I jotted down all the pages I had to check out in order to make up my mind. I wrote the date I checked them and the number of favorable reviews they had gathered by that time. I also made a short list of pros and cons to every model I was considering, and this was probably the most helpful thing I did. The entire research process eventually assisted me in making a short list of the units I had to take into account. Then, I looked at the money that I was willing to spend.

Since research took about three months or so, I wasn’t willing to spend a fortune on a telescope or get one that would hardly be considered usable. The thing is that most of the world-known manufacturers such as Celestron, for example, sell telescopes that are particularly good at what they’re supposed to do but they cost a pretty penny. So, on the one hand, you have the option of selecting a model that’s made in China or some other place where you’re unsure about the quality of its components; on the other, you’ll just have to make an investment and get a high-quality telescope. So, what will it be?

This solar system is similar to our own, says NASA



I’m a big fan of NASA and space discoveries, and so that’s why I take the time to go online and find out if they’ve announced any groundbreaking finds. Recently, I came across this article from The Independent, according to which the organization has found a solar system that is extremely similar to our own.

The similarities don’t pertain to the way the planets are organized inside the system or any other details of this sort, however. They mostly refer to the fact that the system does have a star much like our own and is about one fifth of the age of our solar system. What this means is that it is currently undergoing the changes and cataclysmic processes that have defined our planet.

The constellation is called Eradinus and the star which resembles the one around our sun has the name Epsilon Eridani. NASA are currently interested in studying the modifications that this particular star is going to go through especially as it comes with an inner and an outer disk, a gap that appears to have been caused by the other planets in the system.

While all of this does not seem like something we should be extremely excited about, the fact of the matter is that it could tell us a lot about the way in which our own solar system has evolved over time. The ancient past of the Earth and the other planets surrounding it hasn’t been studied enough and our resources for this are limited, at best. Besides, most astronomers are interested in finding out how things are going to develop in the future rather than dwelling on the past.

Granted, this might be a good idea after all, given that even our planet is going through changes that are likely to affect it indefinitely, but maybe grasping the ancient history of the Earth wouldn’t be a bad thing, after all. Furthermore, this new solar system could tell us how life evolved on our planet. There are multiple theories in this sense, but for now, what we know is that our planet is the only one that can sustain life. Wouldn’t you want to know if there are others like us out there? I know I would.

Colonization is something else that has been preoccupying me for a while, and it might be quite likely to occur in the next couple hundreds of years. Unless we man up and learn how to respect our environment, we’ll have to find some other planet to ruin with our awful habits. I know some people don’t like thinking of such scenarios, but in my opinion, they are quite likely especially as humanity doesn’t seem to stop breeding anytime soon.