How To Get Into Astronomy [Top Tips and Recommendations]

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Have you ever wondered how to get into astronomy? Where do you even start? I know how you feel, it can be quite overwhelming in the beginning and there’s a lot to learn. But that doesn’t mean it wont be fun! I’ve documented some tips that I learnt during my early days as a beginner to make you understand and enjoy astronomy far more easily and effectively.

How can you get into astronomy? There are many things that you can do, but here are some of the main and recommended ways, starting with the easiest and then progressing in regards to commitment and experience

  • Learn the Night Sky with your Naked Eye
  • Get a Self Teaching Guide
  • Visit Forums/Astronomy Websites
  • Purchase a pair of Binoculars

How To Get Into Astronomy

Now, those suggestions listed above are just a small number of things you can do. We’ll now talk about them further and I’ll provide you with some other recommendations. These are what really helped me in the early days get into astronomy.

Learn the Night Sky With Your Naked Naked Eye

When you’re looking to first start and understand the night sky, one of the first things to do and best places to start is by looking at the sky at night with just your own eyes. Besides, Astronomy is an outside nature hobby so its always good to get out there early on.

Although this isn’t going to give you the best views of celestial objects, this is an ideal way to start to find patterns and the relative locations between certain celestial objects. Its best to do this at night and in darker conditions.

Now, you don’t need any specialist equipment for this but if you did want to improve your knowledge and understanding a decent Sky Map will give you the exact locations of the stars. Other books and resources can help you understand the constellations in greater detail, and can even show and explain to you why and how they change depending on the season in which you observe.

Even if this as far as your Astronomy goes, being able to look up and spot, say, Arcturus, will give you some early confidence and is very rewarding. It will give you the enthusiasm to explore further and take your astronomy more seriously.

Get a Self Teaching Guide

Astronomy is a hobby where you constantly learn. That’s one of the best things about it and why it is so interesting. One of the benefits is that you constantly discover new things about the night sky and how it all fits together. However, unless you can sign up to a local astronomy club, you’re going to have to learn and gather information by yourself.

The next recommendation, and it kind of follows on from the first is to get a detailed self-study guide. I personally love and still use the Astronomy Self Teaching Guide by Wiley. You can get it on Amazon for a really good price.

It’s great for beginners who do not have much astronomy knowledge and experience and it also provides exercises throughout the chapter to improve your skill set as you go along. It also gets technical in parts and helps you ask more questions of the night sky than you initially had – which is the key to ongoing learning and fascination.

Beyond this, if you live near or can access a public library then there can be some great astronomy books there. Look specifically at the astronomy section and pickup the beginners books to begin with. When you find something that fascinates you, use that as an opportunity to learn more – and find more books on that topic!

While you may think that signing up to a course or visiting a planetarium is one of the first things you should do, I’d argue otherwise. Sure they can be interesting, but they are unlikely to provide you the answers or knowledge of what you need in the very beginning. You’ll also spend a lot of money and time getting there and gaining access, when you could be otherwise learning outside in the field.

Visit Forums/Astronomy Websites

The next recommendation to learning astronomy at home is to utilize the internet and learn from other astronomers actively publishing content online.

You can gather a lot of information from some of the big astronomy websites and forums, but just bear in mind that you will need to find articles and posts that explain and break things down for you. Otherwise, you could end up looking through some complicated posts and threads which leave you somewhat confused.

Some Google searches will help you to find specific content related to what you need to know, but here is a small collection of my personal favorite websites and forums to learn astronomy online.

Websites:

Forums:

Final Words

If you were looking at how to get into astronomy, by now you should have some actionable steps and ways to do so.

Following the recommendations above, you can start from tonight onward, and you can start to plan your learning around your current lifestyle and commitments.

As an astronomer myself, if I can leave you with one final tip, let this be it.

Astronomy should be fun and you should always be able and willing to learn more. There are a lot of resources and equipment that you can use to enhance your observations but never underestimate the power of your own eyes and the tools that you have freely open and available to you.

Once you are in a position to, I thoroughly recommend investing in a good pair of astronomy binoculars (like these) and a premium telescope when your budget allows for it.

I wish you all the best, and if there is anything that I have missed, please drop a comment below!