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Old 04-23-2019, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,815 posts, read 1,395,419 times
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What are some good websites/resources for a beginner that is interested in Space/learning about the universe, planets, galaxies and space exploration technology? How about buying and learning how to use a telescope (don't have one yet but hope to save enough money for a more expensive and nice one). Some of the websites on space exploration are overwhelming. We do have some engineering interests so some more technical websites might be okay in the future.

I had come up with these:


Space.com
NASA.org
Phil's youtube series - Crash Course in Astronomy
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Seattle
2,295 posts, read 490,180 times
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You can't go too wrong with Sky & Telescope magazine. They have a long history of supporting amateur astronomy. https://www.skyandtelescope.com/
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Old 04-25-2019, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Mars City
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Yeah, Sky & Telescope magazine, and Astronomy magazine. NASA and SpaceX sites for exploration.

Be careful of telescope recommendations. Preferences and usages vary widely. Some will say cheap small ones are good enough. Some will recommend expensive telescopes with automated tracking, etc.

I ended up disregarding all of that for a large but cheaper Dobsonian (aim and point) telescope. It had a large mirror (8") to see many objects, but minus all the bells and whistles and electronics that rack up costs and weight. Try to avoid the rush to buy something. Even large binoculars can be useful, so there's a lot to consider.

Keep in mind to that telescopes are much more useful and effective away from city lights. You can still see stuff in cities, but it can limit you greatly.

You can also spot the ISS (International Space Station) flying over your location, on certain evenings and mornings. That can be fun to do.

https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/home.cfm
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,655 posts, read 4,434,414 times
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Got to put in a plug for the Cloudy Nights website (especially the forums).

And I’ll second the advice to be a bit wary of telescope recommendations. If possible t’s best to actually see and handle several different types of scopes in order to discover what best meets your needs before buying one; a local astronomy club may be able to help you with that. (And many amateurs end up with several scopes for different types of observing, as no single scope is perfect for everything.)
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Old 05-03-2019, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
Got to put in a plug for the Cloudy Nights website (especially the forums).

And I’ll second the advice to be a bit wary of telescope recommendations. If possible t’s best to actually see and handle several different types of scopes in order to discover what best meets your needs before buying one; a local astronomy club may be able to help you with that. (And many amateurs end up with several scopes for different types of observing, as no single scope is perfect for everything.)

Yup, I discovered Cloudy Nights and that forum has a lot of activity! Even for space exploration and spacecraft technologies.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:31 PM
 
834 posts, read 809,805 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
Got to put in a plug for the Cloudy Nights website (especially the forums).

And I’ll second the advice to be a bit wary of telescope recommendations. If possible t’s best to actually see and handle several different types of scopes in order to discover what best meets your needs before buying one; a local astronomy club may be able to help you with that. (And many amateurs end up with several scopes for different types of observing, as no single scope is perfect for everything.)

I agree with visiting an astronomy club. Plan a visit to coincide with a night they are observing. Most welcome visitors. They might observe at the club site or an alternate dark location. Once there members set up their own telescopes and invite people there to take a look for themselves. You can see how different telescopes perform and better determine what to look for when you are ready to get one for yourself.
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Old 08-06-2019, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Martinsburg, West Virginia
45 posts, read 8,828 times
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A local astronomy club is a good idea. Try Astronomy Magazine - Interactive Star Charts, Planets, Meteors, Comets, Telescopes , too. Lots of free content like reviews of telescopes and related products and interesting articles, too.
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:14 AM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
10,542 posts, read 5,803,760 times
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What a beautiful night sky this morning....out at the ranch.


What's a good telescope for a beginner to for, especially one out in the country, away from the city lights?
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,655 posts, read 4,434,414 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TamaraSavannah View Post
What's a good telescope for a beginner to for, especially one out in the country, away from the city lights?
That's a question with no easy answer. A lot depends your budget, on how comfortable you are fiddling with things, how much weight you can (and are willing) to lift, how much computerization you want, and how much work you are willing to put into learning the night sky. In general, I'd say a Dobsonian reflector in the 6-10" range, outfitted with a Telrad, is a good choice (and gets you the most in terms of what you can see for the least amount of money spent). Another decent alternative is a 4" refractor on a good mount (either alt-azimuth or German equitorial) if you want something that requires no adjustments to its optics. A 5-8" Schmidt-Cassegrain on a Go-To mount can be another solid choice if you want a computer to help you locate objects and to automatically track objects once found.

Check out the Beginner forum on Cloudy Nights and this Sky and Telescope article for starters.
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