Turn Left at
Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and
How to Find Them [Spiral-bound] by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M. Davis
2016 is a concise guide to the northern night sky - Nigel Henbest and
The guide is suitable for use between latitudes 40°N and 60°N, including Britain and Ireland, Europe as far south as Rome, and Canada and the northern USA as far south as Philadelphia.
Each chapter (one for each month of the year) has a colour star map, created by Wil Tirion, showing the positions and phases of the Moon, the positions of the planets, and other useful information. Each month also includes a constellation described in detail; special events during the month, such as eclipses; a featured astronomical object, usually a deep-sky target; plus an astrophotograph, with details of how it was taken.
The Solar System Almanac explains the movement of the planets, with particular attention paid to their positions in 2016. Solar and lunar eclipses, meteor showers and comets are also described.
Stars and Planets Guide (Collins Guide) (Paperback) by Ian Ridpath and
Previously entitled Collins Pocket Guide Stars and Planets, this classic guide to the night sky enters its fourth edition as part of the authoritative Collins Guide series.
A comprehensive guide to all the stars and celestial objects visible with the use of binoculars or an average-sized telescope, this fully revised edition features updated and extended text, improved sky charts, and new diagrams and photographs.
planetary data, available as a downloadable web resource
Monthly sky maps of the northern and southern hemispheres, so you can identify constellations and bright stars from various latitudes throughout the year
Descriptions of all the 88 constellations and their stars opposite a specially prepared chart showing the constellation in relation to the surrounding skies
Detailed information on stars, nebulae, galaxies, the Moon and the Solar System
Practical advice on choosing and using binoculars and telescopes
In addition to the charts and diagrams, the text is accompanied by many photographs throughout, making this the most practical and comprehensive guide to the night sky.
With a Telescope by Robin Scagell
Many people dream about exploring the heavens with a telescope but are often disappointed because they do not know how to use one properly. This guide reveals what to expect from a telescope and how to choose the right one, and gives explanations of how they work, and how to progress from first-time user to hobby observer. It gives practical help for setting up and using any telescope, and provides lists of objects to look at with different sizes of telescope, from both town and country, including the Sun, Moon, planets, comets, asteroids, stars, clusters, variable stars, double stars, novae and supernovae, nebulae and galaxies.
Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas [Spiral-bound] by Roger W Sinnott
Thia is a brilliant
atlas in full colour, with all objects colour-coded for easy identification,
being spiral-bound it is easy to use when out on location and all the
pages are marked like a road map with pointers to the next page in the
sequence. Great for the visual observer who wants to learn how to star-hop
to find objects.
notes for beginners
In the meantime this web page offers some hints and tips, especially to those new to the club, or to astronomy, on some of the common tools of the trade. Some books are also recommended. In the first instance it must be remembered that astronomy does not have to be expensive. A good quality pair of binoculars can be picked up for under £50, and can be the gateway to many a fine viewing, especially those objects such as Comet Lulin, whose trajectory is hard to pick up and you need to search a lot of sky with ease. The Helios Fieldmaster 10x50 Porro Prism is a good example for astronomers, as is the Celestron Skymaster series. If you want to mount the binoculars be sure to choose a pair that has a tripod adaptor.
Small refracting telescopes are the next best option as these can be quite reasonable for a 90mm scope, Meade offer this type of scope for around £200, and the price includes a 'Goto' computerised handset to help you find various objects in the sky. This is great if you are new to the hobby, but should only be used as a guide, though with 30,000 items in its program memory you are spoilt for objects to view!
After this there are many fine telescopes on the market from the likes of Meade, Celestron and Skywatcher, and if you are thinking of going a step further, the best thing to do is seek advice from club members and from specialist shops, such as First Light Optics in Exeter. Never go to a high street camera shop, the telescopes are often of inferior quality and you will not get the proper advice you deserve. Talk to the experts!
It is recommended here that you should buy a ND96 (0.9 or 0.6) Moon filter (The 0.9 and 0.6 by the way refers to the density, the higher the number, the more density. A low density for use with smaller aperture telescopes and a higher density for large apertures, suggest 0.09 for large apertures above 6" and 0.06 for small apertures below 6" - light transmission 13% and 25% respectively), the ND means Neutral Density and therefore optics do not add any false colourization, whereas some Moon filters have a colour bias (usually green) Cost, about £16
basic tools of the trade|
Assuming you have a telescope, and that it came with a set of eyepieces, then below are some handy items that you could add to your hobby when you are ready. If you have a telescope with just two basic eyepieces, and would like to add more, here is the five basic recommended sizes for good viewing: 25mm; 20mm; 17mm; 12mm; 5mm. Basically, you start off with the largest aperture, the 25mm which has the wider field of view, then you go to a 17mm or a 12mm to take a closer view of the observed object.
So, here are so additional items you may wish to build on and which are recommended:
Handy Tip from Rob Slack...
I picked up a handy tip on how to convert a x2 barlow into a x3 or x4. You basically
just need to move the eyepiece away from the barlow. I use a cheap barlow that
came with my table top Skywatcher, having unscrewed the lenses from it, leaving
just a tube. I can then use this tube as a spacer between the barlow and the eyepiece,
giving me about x3. That means my 12mm F/L eyepiece becomes about a 4mm F/L (12
/ 3) which means magnification for my 1000mm F/L scope is 1000/4=250 times. Thats
about as high as I can push my scope, but the seeing must be very good to use
it at that.
Planetary filters are handy for helping you to see planets and other objects by adding a colour mask to accentuate the detail. There are many such filters that are used for a variety of reasons and it can be a little confusing if you're not sure what you are looking for. Colour filters are more often than not identified by their Kodak Wratten numbers. As a beginners guide here is a list of recommended filters for beginners, offered by Orion Optics, links to this provider is supplied at the bottom:
Set of Four Telescope Filters
#15 Deep Yellow Planetary Filter
and orange features on Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars
surface details in large scopes
#58 Green Planetary Filter
of blue and red structures on Jupiter (including Red Spot)
in Jupiter's cloud belts and Red Spot
information on the basics|
MANY ARTICLES in Sky & Telescope and SkyWatch Magazine introduce the basics of backyard astronomy to new and aspiring hobbyists. Here are some features from past issues to help you make the most of your time under the stars.
For some useful notes for beginners CLICK HERE
Choosing your first telescope CLICK HERE
More articles from the Guide to Backyard Astronomy CLICK HERE