What do I need to look at the sky?

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jeremy_swinarton

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I have just recently found an interest in amateur astronomy and would like to know what I need to get a good look at the night sky and how much it costs.
 
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bbrock

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Jeremy<br /><br />I suggest you start at the beginning. I recommend you begin by using binoculars and a star chart. I highly recommend Starry Night software as a star charting guide along with at least 10 x 50 binoculars and preferrably 15 x 70 binoculars. Celestron makes an excellent 15x70 SkyMaster binoculars for under $100 that put my $220 , 10x50 Leuapold Binoculars to shame. Starry Night beginning software can be had for under $50 and come with a companion book and CD theater. The combination of the binoculars and planittarium software will allow you to find virtually any deep sky objects and planets and will be able to see most of these objects with the binoculars. --- Not up close and personal as with a telescope, but certainly able to identify what you are looking at. This will put you way ahead of many aspiring amature astronomers. The greatest challenge is to learn your way around the stars and find celestial objects. <br /><br />Subscribe to Night Sky Magazine, Visit a local Astronomy Club and perhaps sit in on a Public Star Party. ----- And in the process of all of this you will form an opinion about what type of telescope you wish to invest in. ----- This is usually the second greatest challenge of an aspiring amature astronomer. <br /><br />OK, You might have guessed, most aspiring amature astronomers do this in just the reverse order. Ill be willing to bet that the dozen or so experienced amature astronomers who monitor this post will agree with me. <br /><br />Bill
 
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venera

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does it enhance your veiwing alot if you buy more expensive binoculars made just for star gazing, because i was considering making an investment in something new, since i have just been using my dads old hunting binoculars, would it be a good idea to save up for a telescope, or to buy better binoculars?<br />sorry if this is a bit of topic.<br />thanks
 
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bbrock

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Binoculars are highly recommended as a compliment to viewing with a telescope. The truth is, many open clusters are best viewed with binoculars rather then with a telescope. Your eyes will take in approximately 3000 stars on a clear night. With a good pair of binoculars, you kick this number up to around 10,000. Many globular clusters appear as a fuzzy spot with 10x50 s . Many bright galaxies will also appear as a fuzzy spot. <br /><br />There are good magazines to subscribe to. Astronomy is excellent and Sky and Telescope is another. The magazine oriented to new and just learning amature astronomers is " The Night Sky ". This is an excellent magazine that provides a sky chart as does the other magazines, but is heavily geared to orienting new amatures, with easier objects to locate. I subscribe to all three magazines. The Night Sky is by far the easiest magazine for family orientation and new amature astronomers to follow. <br /><br />Clear Skies<br />Bill<br />
 
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