Your beginner’s astronomy kit guide: The 4 basic items to launch your stargazing career

beginners astronomy guide

Your childhood telescope is past its best before date and now you’re ready to invest in your own astronomy kit. But what are the must-haves for every beginner’s astronomy set? The Astronomy Kit Guide unfolds the truth.

In this article I’ll be explaining the 4 items that will start your astronomy career. If you’re an occasional star gazer or just starting out these pieces of equipment will make up the core of your kit. Read on through this guide and you’ll be ready to invest.

The kit will allow you to start to grow your knowledge and your ability. Consider them as the gateway to more advanced and complicated pieces of kit. Master them and you’ll be off with a blast.

Use the following as a checklist for your kit. Get used to using them, practise with them and learn how to manipulate them. Once you’ve done this you’ll be ready to explore the night sky with ease!

An App

If you’re just starting out then you’ll likely be a little overwhelmed. After all, it’s a big universe out there. I’d highly recommend investing in a night sky app. Some apps offer articles to read, others give clips to watch, some even use your location to interact with the night sky.

Download some sky watching podcasts, once you begin to hear about everything that’s available to see you’ll be desperate to get started.

Telescope

Don’t rush! The market is flooded with thousands of telescopes for all budgets. Make sure to thoroughly do your research before purchasing. Some are great for viewing within our solar system, others for deeper space.

Note that there are four kinds of telescopes: reflectors, refractors, hybrid and Dobsonian. Be wary of low priced telescopes promising crystal views of distant galaxies. You’ll give up trying before you’ve even started thanks to shoddy hardware and poor optics.

Many telescopes can be linked to you mobile and completely controlled by it. If you’re a traditionalist this might not be your style but for a newcomer it can open up whole new worlds in the push of a button.

Binoculars

Some see them as an alternative, others a companion. Whilst you won’t get the same level of optics that a telescope will offer, binoculars offer portability that you can’t get with most telescopes. Find yourself in a field during a camping weekend with clear skies? You’ll be pleased to have packed them.

Have a look at our astronomy binoculars guide to find out the best binoculars for stargazing.

Observing chair

You’re about to spend a lot of time in a stationary mode. Think carefully about your posture and your back will thank you later. I’d recommend a layback style chair if you’re going for binoculars or a style that encourages positive posture if you’re more upright with a telescope.

The universe at your fingertips

This list isn’t exhaustive and you’ll want to craft your kit to your particular style. There’s a whole universe out there boiling over with new marvels to see. Get your kit ready, get out there and get exploring.