Astronomy 101: The basics to get your beginner’s journey started
You’re ready to start your career in astronomy as a beginner. You’ve spent nights wondering what secrets the night sky holds. Astronomy 101 takes you through your beginners stargazing journey.
Here is what you will learn:
What are the basics that you need to know to get started?
Astronomy isn’t a field for the faint hearted. There’s a lot to learn, a great deal of complicated science and a lifetime of sky to explore. Everyone has to start somewhere. In this article we’ll explore the very beginnings of astronomy and some basics to get you started.
Before I go into specifics, it is worth investing in your own kit sooner rather than later.
You can read our top astronomy binocular reviews here.
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The quicker you get to know your equipment the sooner you’ll be able to master them.
As my title suggests this is only the start of your astronomical journey. Use it as a taster, a glimpse of what is out there. Trust me, once you’ve started you won’t want to stop!
Astronomy in a sentence...
Astronomy is the study of objects and matter outside of the earth’s atmosphere. Essentially it is the exploration of space without the need to leave Earth.
One might study this through mathematical research, scientific readings or through observations of the night sky. The latter is likely how most hobbyists will take part in astronomy.
Where did astronomy come from?
The ancient Greeks were the ones who coined the term astronomy. They combined their words for stars and law. They chose the word law because, even then, they believed that the universe followed certain physical laws. The study of astronomy was an attempt to understand them.
Even before the Greeks, for thousands of years people have used the night sky, especially for navigation and understanding a calendar system.
As technology progressed so did our interest in astronomy. When great minds such as Galileo developed telescopes they began to open the window into deeper space.
What is there to see?
The easiest way to approach this is to split our options into 3. The stars, the planets and deep space. As you can imagine some are more accessible than others.
As a beginner it is likely that you’ll start by observing the closest celestial bodies to our own planet. Our solar system is a wonderful place to start and our own Moon will probably be your first port of call.
Once your interest grows, and with it the quality and scope of your equipment, you can begin to explore nebulae, quasars and distant galaxies.
It’s tempting to try and explore as deeply as possible as quickly as possible. This isn’t necessary. Stargazing is a hobby to be savored, take your time to appreciate all it has to offer. It is worth developing your observational skills confidently with each equipment stage.
The universe awaits...
There is always something new, exciting and awe-inspiring to be learnt in astronomy. It’s a magical journey to undertake and one which will be incredibly rewarding. As Plato once said, “Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another.”