How do I get started in Astronomy?
Should I buy binoculars or a telescope?
What can I expect to see?
Stargazing Basics: Getting Started in Recreational Astronomy is a wonderful informal guide for the beginning astronomer that has the answers to these and dozens of other questions that the absolute beginner needs to get answered so they can get started observing the night sky the right way.
The book is divided into three main sections. After an introduction, Part I covers Stargazing Techniques and Equipment: first with the naked eye alone; then with the next step, binoculars; and then with a self-explanatory chapter entitled “But I want a telescope!” This first part of the book explains the basic techniques and equipment you need for visually exploring and taking photographs of the night sky. It gives you sound advice on how to choose appropriate and affordable equipment and accessories to do your heavenly exploring.
Part II, What’s Up There? discusses basic stargazing techniques, from observing with the naked eye to using binoculars and telescopes. It takes you on a tour of the night sky, covering the Moon, Sun, and planets within the solar system, and then it takes you outside our little celestial neighborhood into the vastness of deep space to visit stars, star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies. It describes what is visible in the sky, and how and why it changes over time.
Part III contains a comprehensive stargazing glossary and references to further astronomy resources and websites; an appendix covering the Greek alphabet so you can understand how astronomer rank the stars in a constellation; an appendix discussing those very constellations; some simple star charts; and an index.
The 9.7” x 6.8” paperback book contains 165 pages and is illustrated with 65 halftone photos, most of them taken by the author to show you how objects in the sky actually look through modest amateur equipment. Any necessary technical terms are clearly explained.
Whether you are a parent thinking of buying a telescope for your children, or a newcomer yourself, this book has all you need to know to take the first steps into the fascinating world of astronomy.
The author, Paul E. Kinzer, has many years’ experience as an amateur astronomer and educator. He currently runs his own small business, traveling to schools and other venues with a Starlab portable planetarium, to share his knowledge of the night sky with groups of all ages.