(Thanks to FoG founding member Mark Thorson for most of the following.)
New to astronomy? Thinking about your first telescope or a gift for a budding astronomer?
Here are a few tips to help you out, and links to helpful articles.
Find a good sky as best you can.
Sky conditions are more important than the equipment you use for observing. Even expensive sophisticated telescopes do not overcome poor sky conditions.
Use binoculars. They will help you focus on the kinds of objects you like to watch, and this will help you choose the right telescope later.
Most binoculars are easy to carry around and to focus. That means you're more likely to use them - and to enjoy exploring the sky. (Here are some binocular recommendations).
Look at the moon and its craters, look at the other planets, maybe try looking for constellations or galaxies or star clusters in the Milky Way.
Never look at the sun through binoculars (or telescopes), but you can focus the sun's image onto a sheet of paper. It's a pretty neat way to see sunspots or an eclipse.
Caution! Solar observing requires special equipment and experienced supervision.
Try someone else's telescope. Ask your local astronomy club for opportunities to look through their different types of telescopes. Ask members about their telescopes, what they like or dislike about them, and what they'd choose today.
When we return to public events, after the pandemic, watch our calendar for our sidewalk astronomy or other viewing events. The public is always welcome!
Starting to narrow things down? Here are a few more tips.
What do these terms mean? Check out this terrific Sky and Telescope article.
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.