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Questions From A Noob...

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psyence53

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Hi there - I'm new to this site and new to taking this interest seriously. Or rather, that's what i'm hoping to do. I have a boring, stressful and unfulfilling full-time job and all my money is spend on enjoying music and music concerts. Space has been a growing interest and i've bought books and DVDs and a couple of magazines, but I want to take it further.

I was upset to hear a planetarium in my area was demolished to make way for a Madame Tussauds extension, or something, but have found out there is another one, which I'm looking forward to going to during July at some point, when I have some time on my hands! (Btw, I'm an 18-year-old female who works 39 hours a week, so not much time on my hands)


But I'm looking for some advice, tips or recommendations to help me along.

1. Are there any books about the universe, theories, conspiracies, astronomy, etc that anyone would recommend? So far I have only read the Stephen Hawking books, and got the DK book of the Universe :roll:

2. Any advice on starting out in astronomy? How much the hobby would cost me and what I would have to do/Where I would have to go, or even if i could do it from home? Even from my bedroom?

3. What else can/could I do? :S

Sorry for sounding so... well. I don't know, but the whole subject means a lot to me and want to make more out of it, like i do with music. Thanks for reading.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Hi and welcome to space.com!

Regarding question #1, a great resource is this thread in Space Science and Astronomy (Click on the link)

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=16646

The books list is a post or two down from the top. (They are long posts, so you'll have to scroll down a bit)


Question #2:

A good thing might be to subscribe to Sky and Telescope or Astronomy magazine. They have good timely articles, and will help you learn the sky.
How much will it cost you? Well, anywhere from nothing to thousands of dollars; it's your choice.
It costs almost nothing to learn more about the sky you can see by looking up. You can also read the forums here at SDC and learn a bunch, and ask questions here in Ask the Astronomer.
A good pair of binoculars (~ $100) is the next step up, and you'll use it for the rest of your life.

A decent small scope will run you about $250 and up See the "Looking to buy your first scope- Read This" topic in this forum). At that price range you'll have to know enough about the sky to aim it yourself. Before taking that step I recommend finding and visiting a local astronomy club to test drive some different types and price ranges.(We can help if you need to locate one).

From there you can spend a small fortune on bigger, better, and more automatic scopes :)


One important question is where do you live? In a city, in the suburbs, or in the countrysde? In other words, how dark is the sky? Are you starting from scratch, or do you know something about the sky already? That way we can help you more.

Good luck, and feel free to ask for more help.

Meteor Wayne
 
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psyence53

Guest
MeteorWayne - Thank you for replying so quick!

Thanks for the link, it's in a new tab and already look pretty good. Will dig into that.

Are those American magazines? If they are, still a good idea. I think there is an astronomy magazine in a shop nearby, I might look into that one, or if there are any others worth buying regularly.

I looked into that thread on first telescopes already. I would be willing to pay a reasonable amount for something good than just a cheap one. I found the cost paid of when i paid over £200 for my new camera, which was well worth it. There is a telescope in a nearby shop for about £180 which looks ok, but... well here is the link, if anyone could advise on yes or no, that would be helpful!

http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/p ... ESCOPE.htm

Trying telescopes first would be a good idea. I can't imagine there being one in Epsom, UK but I will have a look. Do planetariums offer anything like that? Where I live is called a town. There are plenty of trees and green around though. It's hardly countryside, but nor is it a bustling city. Many nights I have walked up to my gate and seen the moon and many stars VERY clearly. Even the red and blue of some stars. And often walking around town in the morning, the moon looks so beautifully clear. When you can see the craters! :) The sky gets pretty dark in my street. There are a couple of street lights but its a quiet area. I don't know anything much. I have constellation and sky maps in the back of the DK Universe book, but never really delved into that yet. Suppose i should start.

Thanks again, really appreciate the help :) No one else cares about space :(

Once, on MSN, I had a beautiful picture of a galaxy as my dp, and a friend said I had a really boring picture ¬_¬
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Aha, didn't realize you were in the UK.
There is an astronomy magazine there, I can't recall the name off the top of my head. I'll either dig it up for you, or have one of our UK friends drop into the thread and advise you as well. They'd have a better lay of the land than I. Only visited the UK once (Woking) a half dozen years ago.

I don't like to aadvise on scopes, since meteors are my thing so I don't use them much (even though I have two, and access to a much larger one). We have other scope experts who will also drop in within a few days to help.

Keep checking back to the thread, I'm sure one of the local blokes will drop in :)
 
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xXTheOneRavenXx

Guest
Good evening psyence53,

You don't sound like a noob at all. Many people wish to learn about space, yet have never really looked at the heavens through a telescope. Just a few years ago a friend of mine let me look through his 10 inch F5 telescope. I was looking at 7 of 5 of Saturn's moons, then the eye of Jupiter. From there I was hooked and just had to built my own. For the next 3 weeks we worked on it. Since it's construction I have yet to gather enough funds to purchase the EQ 6 Equitorial Mount I just have to have. Instead I have used many props until that time comes. I have found auto-tracking is definately the way to go. The mount I want can also hook up to a laptop whereas a software program can be downloaded and used to pin-point what you wish to look at. I don't know about the UK, but Arnold Optics is the best optics maker in Canada. If you wish to get into the self-build's, I can provide you a link to a calculator that will help you do just that:

Here is a simulator that will help either with purchasing eyepieces, etc... or self-builds:
http://www.telescope-simulator.com/

This calculator will actually give you a visual on where the components must be placed within the tube, what eye pieces can be used, etc...
http://www.atmsite.org/contrib/Fly/scopecalc/designie5.html
 
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3488

Guest
Hi psyence53.

Big Welcome to SDC.

Regarding British Dealerships, try the below. They are based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent (not too far from where I live in Ashford, Kent), but deliver astronomical equipment nationwide.

Fantastic Telescope / Binocular dealer called Broadhurst Clark & Fuller.

They only sell the proper stuff, not cheap crap often found in supermarkets & IIRC they have employees who know about the subject & the best type of equipment for your interested field of observations.

I see that you live in Epsom, Surrey. Not too far from Tunbridge Wells. Sky glow / light pollution is a huge issue for you I would imagine.

Please read what MeteorWayne & TheOneRaven have written very carefully. Great advice there. As MeteorWayne says, it is a good idea to peruse the boards as a related subject may already have started.

Anyway huge welcome to SDC & we hope that you will stay.

Andrew Brown.
 
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psyence53

Guest
Thank you for the replies!

MeteorWayne - I will have a look in my local WHSmiths. They have quite a few space and science magazines. Which makes a nice change!

xXTheOneRavenXx - I have never looked through a telescope, but I want to! I hear of people seeing planets, but I want to see them with my own eyes. I don't think building anything is up my street. I'm not skilled in building anything, and i can bet setting up a bought one will be hard enough. I'm just looking for a goodish telescope. I like the idea of connecting to a laptop, if bought ones can do that too?

3488 - Thank you. I had added that link to my favourites, it looks pretty... knowledgable! It's not a HUGE issue. Depends on the weather really. Many nights I can see the stars very clearly. And I will do, thank you again, I hope I stay too.
 
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xXTheOneRavenXx

Guest
psyence53":g7k7qqox said:
Thank you for the replies!

MeteorWayne - I will have a look in my local WHSmiths. They have quite a few space and science magazines. Which makes a nice change!

xXTheOneRavenXx - I have never looked through a telescope, but I want to! I hear of people seeing planets, but I want to see them with my own eyes. I don't think building anything is up my street. I'm not skilled in building anything, and i can bet setting up a bought one will be hard enough. I'm just looking for a goodish telescope. I like the idea of connecting to a laptop, if bought ones can do that too?

3488 - Thank you. I had added that link to my favourites, it looks pretty... knowledgable! It's not a HUGE issue. Depends on the weather really. Many nights I can see the stars very clearly. And I will do, thank you again, I hope I stay too.
Your welcome:)
Yes there are a number of store bought scopes that can hook up to laptops, and have the features I mentioned for a decent price range. If you'd like, before you actually pay for one, you can post a link to one your looking at and myself, MeteorWayne & others can give you our opinions on it. The first thing you should determine though is what you wish to be able to look at with it. Mine is designed to see planets & galaxies. Of course it will have limitations because of being designed for both. But I have no problem seeing Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus.
 
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SpaceTas

Guest
Hunt down British Astronomical Association, they probably have a chapter near you.
The local astronomy magazine is: Astronomy (have website)
Books: look for Patrick Moore (his books have started 2 maybe 3 generations of astronomers).
TV: BBC The sky at night.
enjoy
 
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