Star gazing can be a fascinating hobby as there is so much we can learn about the universe that surrounds us. Many features of the galaxy can be seen from an optical telescope like the Milky Way and Jupiter etc.
There are several things the beginner needs to take into consideration before committing large amounts of money to the project.
First the star gazer needs a map of the night sky which covers regional and seasonal differences. There are also several books on the market to give the beginner star gazer a taste for his or her new hobby.
The major piece of equipment for a star gazer is a telescope. However, before going out to a store and splashing out large amounts of money on some high technical telescope one needs to take a few things into account. Is the hobby going to last? Do you live in the city? Lights from buildings and streets can obliterate any night sky where only the brightest stars can shine through if any.
Most homes have a pair of binoculars in a cupboard somewhere. Binoculars are surprising good to view the night sky for a beginner and if the hobby is long lived the star gazer can always upgrade to a telescope at a later period.
Stars are best viewed in the countryside or at sea where there is no artificial lighting. If one is a city dweller he or she will be amazed at just how many stars there are in the night sky. In a good location the Milky Way should be easily visible and the sky should be a veritable mass of stars over the entire vista.
The beginner might first try to identify some of the constellations like Orion or the big dipper (Plough). These two constellations are the easiest to spot. The brightest star in the night’s sky is Venus. When the moon is visible Venus can be found close by. Mars is the next easiest planet to be seen as it is a large object and shines red even to the naked eye.
In late summer in the northern hemisphere one can see displays of shooting stars which are fascinating to watch. For those who don’t know a shooting star is nothing more than a speck of dust hitting the earth’s atmosphere. If one should detect slow moving objects these are likely to be one of the many thousands of satellites circling the Earth. Some will still be in service but a great many are now classified as space junk.
Star gazing is a wonderful hobby and is recommended to all age groups.