16 May 2018 at 11:25 pm #574036Ian KahlerParticipant
Let me start with the word…. overwhelmed. Yes I am feeling like I have been let loose in a candy store… except the candy is the overwhelming amount of information available on SO many aspects or areas of astronomical principals, or phenomena.
Do any of you guys feel like this sometimes??? I walked away from astronomy several years ago, and all but gave up on the science. Yet at the back of my mind… in some dusty corner… I was aware of this inescapable curious little monster that wanted me to come back. I have always been interested in binary and multiple stars, and stars clusters, but lately; since joining the BAA, and buying the first of a series of books entitled, Annals of the deep sky, I feel like my poor old brain is just going to explode.
What do you guys do?? Do you focus on, or find yourself drawn to one particular aspect of astronomy? Do you find yourself spinning out of control with a need to absorb everything? Or is it common to encompass everything?
I need to establish a pattern and stick with it… right now I find myself feeling overwhelmed and wanting to find SOMEWHERE to start. What I DO like about this new series of books is that they choose one constellation and focus on EVERYTHING of interest in that constellation. SO perhaps this is the direction I should pursue. Perhaps I just answered my own question…. what are your thoughts? Why do some of us focus on a particular area of this amazing and complex science… and how do you do it???
Ian17 May 2018 at 12:25 pm #579497James DawsonParticipant
Yes, there is a lot to get your head around.
I would advise finding a local society to get involved with. They probably hold regular meetings and star gazing events. If you email me your nearest city I can have a look online and see what groups are near by.
I wouldn’t rush to make any decisions about buying equipment or deciding what sort of amateur astronomer you are. Go with the flow as they say.
There are plenty of books to read and magazines and forums [fora].
Learning your way around your own night sky is a great place to start with practical astronomy. The major constellations, and any visible planets. A bog standard pair of binoculars are useful for looking at some of the brighter targets in the sky, such as globular clusters and open clusters and the Andromeda Galaxy. Binoculars are also useful for getting a closer look at the Moon.
If there is a meteor shower coming up, that is always fun to observe, ideally on a sun lounger in a sleeping bag or two!
If you are hands on and like tinkering with either mechanical things or electronics there is so much tinkering to be done with equipment and the like, and again lots of fascinating stuff to read. Or maybe you are so hands on you’d like to build your own telescope.
I enjoy reading. I don’t enjoy getting cold. I have various telescopes but I don’t have a permanent set up, so I don’t use them as often as I should. Many believe an observatory isn’t a luxury for an amateur astronomer, it is an essential tool. I like imaging the planets and the Moon, and showing non-astronomers things through the telescope like planetary nebula or globular clusters. I’m also interested in the history of astronomy, and like reading about the goings on several hundred years ago, as well as from the 19th and 20th centuries.
The BAA Journal has some fascinating content and as a BAA member you can look through past copies of the BAA Journal on the website. The Journal also contains sky notes to help you learn more about the night sky. The members pages are great for looking at things others are up to, and if there are things you want to know more about you can either leave a note on peoples observations, or start a thread on the forum.
It will be very exciting for you.
Welcome and enjoy.
James17 May 2018 at 3:24 pm #579498Ian KahlerParticipant
Thanks for your input James. I have a 5 inch refractor that is missing a tripod right now, so I use binoculars to look around at this time. I live in Seattle WA, USA, and the Seattle astronomy society is … according to the research I have on them…. a rather good club. I may join, but I am terrible in social situations so it is not a priority for me. I have always been interested in the history and advancement of astronomy, so what I really need to do is stop charging around like the bull in a china shop, haha and pick a direction. Once again, thx for your input.
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