Stargazing Basics: Getting Started in Recreational Astronomy

Overview

How do I get started in Astronomy? Should I buy binoculars or a telescope? What can I expect to see? This wonderful informal guide has all the answers for an absolute beginner to get started observing the night sky. It begins with advice on how to choose appropriate and affordable equipment and accessories, and covers basic stargazing techniques, from observing with the naked eye to binoculars and telescopes. It then takes you on a tour of the night sky, covering the Moon, Sun, stars, planets, and more. Photos ...

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Overview

How do I get started in Astronomy? Should I buy binoculars or a telescope? What can I expect to see? This wonderful informal guide has all the answers for an absolute beginner to get started observing the night sky. It begins with advice on how to choose appropriate and affordable equipment and accessories, and covers basic stargazing techniques, from observing with the naked eye to binoculars and telescopes. It then takes you on a tour of the night sky, covering the Moon, Sun, stars, planets, and more. Photos taken by the author, himself, will show how objects in the sky actually look through modest amateur equipment. Whether you are a parent thinking of buying a telescope for your children, or a newcomer yourself, this book has all you need to know to take the first steps into the fascinating world of astronomy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If you have a budding astronomer in your life, then this certainly is a book that you should consider as a gift, or buying yourself, if you're that emerging stargazer. I remember when I first turned my dad's binoculars toward the night sky. I had no idea what I was looking at or the proper way to do stargazing. Some 55 years later, this small, information-packed book has arrived. I wish I had these fundamentals packed into one book back then. ... I highly recommend this well-written book for anyone interested in learning about the night sky, using and/or purchasing binoculars or a telescope, and desiring to learn how to become a knowledgeable stargazer." - Robert Garfinkle, Sky & Telescope

"The extensive glossary is a real jargon buster and will be a great help for the absolute beginner. I enjoyed this book hugely and recommend it very strongly. Kinzer is a true enthusiast. If he does not get you out there and looking up, no one will." - The Observatory

"In clear, accurate and precise terms, [the book] explains what sort of things you are likely to see...observing the sky, and from the beginning sets out to dispel common misconceptions about what is needed in order to get pleasure from observing. The descriptions of different types of binocular and telescope set-up are particularly useful to the beginner. ... Just enough explanation of each of the types of object is given so that the observer can feel they know something about what they have been looking at ... A recommended read for all who are new to stargazing...." - David Bowdley, Astronomy Now

“…written in a friendly, encouraging tone...loaded with good advice...Reading this book should be required for anyone who plans to purchase a telescope…” – Dr. John Dickey, professional astronomer

"This book does a good job of covering most of the aspects of starting recreational astronomy, from naked eye observing to purchasing and using a telescope." - Hazel Collett, Journal of the Royal British Astronomical Association

"Difficult astronomical concepts are explained clearly, there's an excellent glossary and the text is broken up with useful pictures and information boxes." - BBC Sky at Night

"Author Paul Kinzer is an amateur astronomer himself, and clearly familiar with the challenge of selecting from the dizzying range of possibilities. He wisely avoids recommending particular models, as specific suggestions will quickly become outdated. Instead, the book offers tips on telling flashy but poor quality features from those that will enhance an evening’s stargazing." - Physics World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521728591
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/27/2008
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 540,817
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul E. Kinzer has many years' experience as an amateur astronomer and educator. He currently runs his own small business, traveling to schools and other venues with a Starlab portable planetarium, to share his knowledge of the night sky with groups of all ages.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Stargazing Techniques and Equipment: 1. With the naked eye alone; 2. Binoculars: the next step; 3. 'But I want a telescope!'; Part II. What's Up There?: 4. The Solar System; 5. The deep sky; Part III. A Stargazing Glossary: Appendix 1. The Greek alphabet; Appendix 2: The Constellations; Some simple star charts; Index.

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