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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Backyard Astronomy: Why It Can Be Everybody’s Science

Whenever astronomy comes up as a topic, more often than not, people start to think of geeks beside their telescopes and numerous charts of celestial bodies that are spread out on tables. Let’s advance that imagination where we see impossible mathematical calculations that are being done to determine the exact distance of those heavenly bodies. Will astronomy ever be plain Jane’s cup of tea? Well, now, it could be through—backyard astronomy.

Astronomy is no longer just for the geniuses or straight-A students. In fact, even if you don’t have any knowledge on this branch of science, you could start everything by just having, first, interest on the subject. Next to that, at least, purchase one of those simple telescopes (if you are constrained on your budget, binoculars will do for now) that would aid you in your most recent endeavor. Lastly, go to your backyard and gaze up at the night sky. ‘See all those stars? You just made your first step towards the world of astronomy! In fact, astronomers believe that the best way to begin associating with astronomy is to look at a star-filled sky with our naked eyes.

As an amateur astronomer, it is wise to begin observing the night sky with the aid of some simple tools. Don’t even begin to think of expensive telescopes and complex ways of locating stars or any other heavenly body. It is a necessity to invest on a planisphere (in layman’s terms, a star finder that rotates) where you would be able to find any star or constellation in your zone. This can often be found in astronomy magazines.

The next best thing to do is to invest in magazines. Know all of the terms in astronomy and develop a love for this branch of science. Learn of all the equipment and tools that you can use to set up your own study. Remember all those ‘idiot’ books that you can buy at a modest price? Why not buy the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astronomy? This will tell you of all the basic things you need to know.

If you are still at a loss, bear in mind that there are several websites that can help you in making that first step towards astronomy. Help is plentiful for those of you who are really willing to seek. You see, everything, every endeavor begins with the basics. And your backyard is the best place to start.

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