If you’ve ever looked up at the night sky and marveled at the endless supply of stars, you’re not alone. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences, as humans have always been fascinated by what’s beyond our reach. Learning about astronomy can be surprisingly easy and lots of fun, whether you want to learn about constellations or study astrophysics in college. So if you want to know how to start learning about astronomy and look at the stars from your backyard, check out this beginner’s guide to astronomy!


How do we know anything about stars?

The most advanced instruments used to observe stars today, as well as those of NASA’s Kepler mission, only give us snapshots of a star at any given moment. It’s possible that our observations are missing something if we don’t know what a star looks like over an extended period of time. This is where asteroseismology comes in. To study stars through asteroseismology, scientists must track one for years—even decades—at a time.


The night sky

Whether you are an amateur astronomer, a complete beginner or just someone who likes looking at stars and has always wanted to know more about them, today’s your lucky day. The universe is our laboratory. There are 100 billion galaxies in our observable universe (the part of it we can actually see), and we have evidence of more than 100 billion other galaxies beyond that. We may not be able to go there – yet – but that doesn’t mean we can’t try! This is how.

By the help of telescopes.

Telescopes are optical instruments designed to make distant objects appear nearer, containing an arrangement of lenses, or of curved mirrors and lenses, by which rays of light are collected and focused and the resulting image magnified.

Types of telescopes

There are three basic types of telescopes, each one suited for a specific purpose. The refractor telescope is one of these types; it is also known as a conventional telescope. The name comes from its main lens or objective lens, which has multiple elements that act together to form an image at its focal point. One benefit of a refractor telescope is it has no chromatic aberration, meaning all colors focus on a single point simultaneously.


How to choose a telescope

There are two main types of telescopes for most amateur astronomers. Refractors use a lens at one end of a tube to create an image, while reflectors use mirrors. The light that comes through each type must be directed by different kinds of mounts before reaching your eye. Each telescope has advantages and disadvantages, as well as some specific uses they’re best suited for.


Tips on using your telescope

Learning how to use your telescope is just as important as choosing one in the first place. Luckily, there are several easy tips you can follow that will make using your equipment a breeze. Here are a few key pointers on using your telescope. Before buying a telescope, ask yourself what type of viewing experience you want. Do you want to see faint galaxies? Do you want something that will show planets and other objects in close-up detail?

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Helpful resources

There are a number of excellent resources out there if you want to explore astronomy further. Here are some resources I would recommend checking out! If you find more sites, please let me know in a comment below so I can add them! (I’ll be updating as people leave comments.) If you have questions or thoughts on any of these links, feel free to leave a comment as well.

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