How to start your adventure with astronomy?steemCreated with Sketch.

in #science2 years ago (edited)

Stars and planets shine in every cloudless night above our heads. However, whether we look at the sky depends only on us. Now most people focus on earthly life. However, there are also people more aware of the presence of the sky, which is our window to the universe around us. I belong to them and I want you to also see that it is worth to take your eyes off the Earth and understand that our planet is just a drop in the huge ocean of the universe.

Source: Pixabay link [CC0 license]

Nowadays, anyone can be an amateur astronomer. The most important are the desire and curiosity of the universe. You don't need huge money to look into space. The biggest obstacle that causes people to forget about the universe is the urbanization of the world. The construction of cities and artificial lighting effectively hampers astronomical observations. Our ancestors didn't have expensive equipment, and yet they had a much higher awareness of being part of the cosmos than people in our time. So if you live in a city, unfortunately you have difficult contact with universe. Only the brightest stars, the Moon and the brighter planets are visible in the city.

Comparison of the night sky showing the effects of light pollution

By Jeremy Stanley link [CC BY 2.0 license]

The basis for astronomical observations is to know the night sky. The first stage is observation with the naked eye. To see as many constellations as possible and the milky way, we must move away from the city lights. In the case of large agglomerations, we must travel even 50-100 kilometers outside the city. Those of you who live in the countryside and know the view of the milky way are real lucky people. I live in the suburbs of a big city and yet as a child I have seen a beautiful milky way, and today only a few of the brightest stars can be seen in the night sky here. It is sad that the beauty of the night sky is no longer available anywhere in the world.

Source: Pixabay link [CC0 license]

If we have already gone out of the city and the night is cloudless, it is worth learning the constellations. We need to have a map of the sky and a special flashlight with a red light. To fully use the possibilities of our eyes, we have to get used to the darkness. We need about 20 minutes to let our pupils open completely and thanks to that we can see much more stars. Only the red light doesn't cause the pupils of our eyes to narrow again. Therefore, you should avoid looking at sources of ordinary light such as a smartphone. At the beginning of the observation, one should look for directions of the world in order to be able to use the map well and identify individual constellations. I recommend the Stellarium program to learn the constellations at home.

Screenshot of Stellarium software

By Bruger Veng link [GNU General Public License]

When we learn to recognize the main constellations with the naked eye and search them from the map will not be a problem for us, then we can go to the next step. It is the purchase of binoculars. It is an optical device that will allow us to see many interesting objects, and at the same time will prepare us for the purchase of the telescope. Buying a telescope without knowing the sky causes dissatisfaction and disappointment that you can't find anything. Observing the naked eye, we see a large area of the sky. The binoculars are already showing a much smaller area and that makes it possible to get lost in the sky. Therefore, for a beginner universe enthusiast the best equipment at the beginning is a bright 10 X 50 binoculars. This instrument has a 10x zoom and 50 millimeters objective lenses that collect a lot of light. I will tell you something more about binoculars in a separate article. This is a necessary part of the amateur astronomer's equipment.

Source: Pixabay link [CC0 license]

What can you see through binoculars? The moon with lots of details that can be seen even from the city. You can see brighter planets, but without significant details. Planet Jupiter is visible along with its 4 largest moons. Outside the city, binoculars open the door to deep universe. You can see many star clusters, brighter nebulae and galaxies. Of course, these aren't some spectacular views, but they make an impression because they are real. You just have to understand one principle: In astronomical observations, we see colors only on bright objects like the moon and planets. Colorful photos of nebulae are the effect of photography with a long exposure time. The weak light of the nebulae is picked up by the matrix of the camera even for up to several hours! The human eye isn't so sensitive and therefore can't see the colors on the faint-shining objects like nebulae and galaxies. So remember: We see objects of deep sky in binoculars and telescopes as black and white.

Galaxy M31 in binoculars 15 X 70 under a good dark sky
By Lukáš Kalista(reworked by me) link [CC BY-SA 3.0 license]

What does an amateur astronomer dream about? Of course, about your own telescope. This is a very extensive topic. We have many types of astronomical telescopes on the market. After changing from binoculars we will experience a huge increase in image quality, however, and the difficulty of finding objects through the narrow field of view of the telescope will increase. We have telescopes on the market with different construction and purpose. Unfortunately, without proper knowledge, you can make the wrong choice or buy a counterfeit that will discourage us from this hobby. For visual observations, the most important parameter of the telescope is the diameter of its mirror or lens. It is the active diameter of our instrument that determines its ability to collect light and the resolution of given images. In conclusion, the thick telescope tube give the better views. Remember: We never buy a telescope due to magnification! This parameter we can change by different eyepieces. The view depends in 90 percent on the diameter of the instrument's lens. I will write to you once an article about the selection of the telescope.

Me and my 12-inch telescope
my own photo

In conclusion, I would like to thank those who have read the post. Astronomy is a beautiful hobby. Unfortunately, it requires time and often at night, but it changes our approach to the world. Observing distant galaxies, I realize that my eyes can see light from many millions of years ago. It's amazing being an amateur and be able to look into distant universe. I recommend you visit an astronomical meeting in your area. There, you will get acquainted with equipment and experienced people will show you how to watch the sky yourself. Be like me! Be aware of the universe around us!

Thank you for reading and greetings!

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I have been tempted to buy a telescope since long time ago. A year ago my brother give his binoculars and then I realized that buying the telescope would have been a huge mistake. The key is the big field of view of the binoculars compared to the one of the telescope. It is not easy to find one object when using optic instruments as you get more objects in front of your eyes than when looking on naked eye and that makes it harder to find the one you are looking for.

I will keep using the binoculars for at least one more year and then maybe I buy a telescope.

Binoculars are always needed. Although I have 2 telescopes, I also have binoculars and consider it a mandatory equipment for observation in a wide field.

Great post! I have always been fascinated by the universe and the stars, so interesting. And the first ever photo of the black hole in the middle of our galaxy is almost ready. Can't wait to see it. Hope it's not just a bunch of blurry pixels though. :)

very very awesome. please keep doing same!!!

Thank You very much! The quality of the post is important to me.

All for one and one for all. Alexandre Dumas

Świetny post, tak się powinno zarabiać na Steemit :)

Dzięki:) Tak by było super. Ale zauważ jak zwiększa zasięg użycie botów i strona główna. Ponad 800 głosów ładnie wygląda...

Beautiful! Just beautiful!

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Thank You :) I will create 1 post per week for the main steemit page... :)

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do one photo of the moon next time you view thru the telescope again, lets moon steem =)

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First find Orion...

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Just beautiful! Literally breathtaking !