Sunday, April 20, 2008

I’ve Bought My Telescope, Now What?

Many subsequent chapters contain advice on observing various celestial objects, but for now, having bought your telescope (and having assembled it; typically, some assembly is required), what do you do with it?
In two words: Use it.
You don’t need a plan, but many first-time sky watchers christen their new telescope by looking at the moon. A more original inaugural journey begins by marking out an interesting-looking piece of sky for yourself and studying it. Find what you can. Later, we’ll talk about recording what you see.
Another good way to start is to go to your local library and check out Astronomy or Sky & Telescope magazine. Both of these periodicals (and their online equivalents) include a guide to the night sky in their center section every month, and you can check to see if there are any planets in the sky or which constellations are up. Also see Appendix E, “Sources for Astronomers,” for recommended guidebooks. An interesting second activity is to locate another piece of sky—one that looks almost empty—and try to find dim and distant objects. Test the limits of your new telescope and your own eyesight. Notice how many more stars you see with your finder telescope, which has a larger aperture than your eye, and then notice how many stars you see in your main telescope.

No comments: