Stargazing for Beginners
26 Aug, 2016
Outer space seems so abundant, vast and mysterious. But taking the time to appreciate something so wondrous can be as easy as stepping into your own backyard! In fact, backyard astronomy is a basic concept you can master with some initial learning. Here, we’ll go over some stargazing basics to make sure you can have all the fun with astronomy you want right in the comfort of your own home.
To start, it is recommended to have some familiarization with the night sky and its starry patterns without the use of a telescope or other tool. This way, you can quickly identify the star patterns and the names of each when you get into the more detailed stuff. Just think, even if you live in a heavily populated area, wouldn’t it be cool to look up in the night sky and say “There’s the Big Dipper!” or “That right there is Saturn!” Astronomy is a continual hobby – there will always be something new to learn. Take the time to read up on stargazing 101 and consult many sources as your knowledge on the topic grows.
To start, take the time to learn the “lingo’” that comes with astronomy. Having familiarized yourself with different constellations, planet locations and the terms that come with each will have you on your way through astronomy basics. Some constellations or other things to look for in the night sky when first stargazing are:
- The Moon – This is an easy way to start. While the moon can be seen almost every night, planning ahead to the nights when a full moon will be out can add some extra fun.
- The Big Dipper – This is a great constellation to start off with as well. Look for four stars that form a “bowl” shape, followed by three stars that make the dipper’s handle.
- The Little Dipper – This constellation is easy to find once you catch The Big Dipper. The Little Dipper can be found just above The Big Dipper and looks to be pouring into it, like a ladle in soup.
- Aries – This constellation is among the easiest to find. It is one the 12 constellations of the zodiac, and contains just four stars that create a long, bendy line.
- Cancer – Another super-easy zodiac constellation to see in the night sky, the Cancer constellation is a five star v-shape followed by a long tail line.
Some other, much larger constellations include Ursa Major the Great Bear in the Sky or Orion the Hunter. Once you can spot The Big Dipper, it’s easy to find Ursa Major. The Big Dipper is actually a part of Ursa Major – making up the bear’s tail. Orion is one of the more recognized constellations in the sky. It’s often easy to spot Orion’s belt first which is made up of three bright stars in a row.
To start, find the perfect spot in your yard. An area that is open so the sky can clearly be seen along with minimal lighting is ideal. After you feel you’re comfortable enough with the patterns and constellations, it’s time to buy a pair of binoculars. Lightweight and mobile, binoculars are a convenient way to start stargazing, while telescopes are recommended for the serious stargazers.
Everything you need at hhgregg
hhgregg has a wide selection of binoculars and telescopes for you to begin your backyard astronomy journey. Want to sit in comfort outside? Check out some of the patio furniture hhgregg has to offer. There are even some fun outdoor games you can play! Find all of this and more when you browse through our online selection or visit your local hhgregg.