Astronomy is a fascinating lifetime
hobby enjoyed by young and old. Today, computerized telescopes and
their accessories make it easy and exciting for beginners to find
celestial objects and to track them as the Earth rotates.
What You Can See With A Telescope?
THE MOON -- Our moon reveals
a wealth of detail through even the smallest telescope. Its
surface is rich with mountain ranges, impact craters, ejecta
blankets and long, winding rilles. The moon's continually changing
appearance will delight you as it goes through its phases. And
occasionally you will be treated to a lunar eclipse.
THE SUN -- Through safe,
reliable filters, our sun is fascinating to study. Even an ordinary
white-light filter will reveal sunspots, surface granulation,
calcium clouds, solar limb darkening, and the 25-day solar rotation
period. A hydrogen-alpha filter will reveal solar prominences.
If you travel, then you may experience an awe-inspiring solar
THE PLANETS -- A high-quality
4" telescope will reveal Jupiter's cloud bands and its four
Galilean moons that change positions hourly. Saturn and its
splendid rings may be seen clearly and sharply, and Venus and
Mercury may be watched as they pass through their moon-like
phases. Observe Mars and see its polar cap change in size or
watch its dust storms and its deserts change colors mysteriously
with the seasons.
STAR CLUSTERS -- Two types
of star clusters are in the sky for you to discover. Open star
clusters are loosely-arranged groups of a few dozen to hundreds
stars. Globular clusters are tightly-packed aggregates of hundreds
of thousands of stars.
NEBULAE -- These glowing
clouds of gas can be vast, irregularly-shaped clouds of gas
and dust that are regions of star formation or small ball-shaped
clouds of expanding gases from extinct stars.
GALAXIES -- Remote "island
universes," galaxies are composed of many billions of stars
and exist in a variety of sizes and shapes reflecting their
COMETS -- Bright comets
sometimes appear and can be spectacular as seen through rich-field
BINARY STARS -- Two stars
closely orbiting a common center of gravity can be of strikingly
contrasting colors for your viewing enjoyment.
What Are The Tools Of Astronomy?
TELESCOPES -- The most important
attribute of a telescope is aperture. Two other highly important
attributes are optical quality and steadiness of mount. Most
telescopes can be used for terrestrial viewing. You can also
take pictures through your telescope since it can be used as
a long-focus telephoto lens.
ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY -- Astrophotography
can be a rewarding experience. With the proper equipment, there
is no end to the enjoyment of permanently recording your favorite
CCD IMAGING -- The last
few years have brought to the amateur astronomer an assortment
of CCD (Charge Coupled Device) cameras. This new electronic
imaging technology opens up a whole new world of astrophotography
for amateur astronomers who can now obtain images quickly and