How do I get started in astronomy? Should I buy binoculars or a telescope? What can I expect to see? This wonderful informal guide to astronomy has all the information an absolute beginner needs to get started. It explains the basic techniques and equipment you need for exploring the night sky, from observing with the naked eye to using binoculars and telescopes. It then takes you on a tour of the night sky, covering the Moon, Sun, stars, planets, and more.
Stargazing Basics gives sound advice on purchasing affordable binoculars, telescopes, and accessories, and is illustrated with photos taken by the author, showing how objects in the sky actually look through modest amateur equipment. Whether you are a parent thinking of buying a telescope for your children, or a newcomer yourself, Stargazing Basics has all you need to know to take the first steps into the fascinating world of astronomy.
"Difficult astronomical concepts are explained clearly, there's an excellent glossary and the text is broken up with useful pictures and information boxes."
- BBC Sky at Night
"Stargazing Basics: Getting started in Recreational Astronomy presents a brief primer on the equipment used by amateur astronomers, its limitations and how to decide what (if any) new kit you should buy. Author is an amateur astronomer himself and clearly familiar with the challenge of selecting from the dizzying range of possibilities. He wisely avoids recommending particular models [...] Instead, the book offers tips on telling flashy but poor-quality features from those that will enhance an evening's stargazing."
"The extensive glossary is a real jargon buster and will be a great help for the absolute beginner. I enjoyed this book hugely and recommend it very strongly. Kinzer is a true enthusiast. If he does not get you out there and looking up, no one will."
- The Observatory
"I highly recommend this well-written book for anyone interested in learning about the night sky, using and/or purchasing binoculars or a telescope, and desiring to learn how to become a knowledgeable stargazer."
- Sky and Telescope
"This book is nicely designed so as not to intimidate the beginner. [...] There is good coverage of binoculars, spotting telescopes [...] and the author avoids discussion of large or expensive equipment and explains how to avoid poor and over-sold telescopes. [...] There is a nice section on star parties and astronomy clubs. [...] The book's subtitle 'Getting started in recreational astronomy' is a very fair summary of this very sound book – recommended."
"I was given a telescope in my youth, but despite studying Astrophysics at university I have lacked the confidence to use it for the best part of two decades, but it seems I was not the only one, according to the author's personal anecdotes. A lack of clear and suitable information available to the novice spurred the author on to produce this excellent guide for all those would-be amateur astronomers like myself [...] This book does exactly what it says on the tin; it is a simple (yet informative) guide to get you started, or what the author describes as allowing the readers to 'dip their toes into recreational astronomy before deciding whether to take the plunge'. This is the perfect guide for anyone thinking about embarking on taking up astronomy as a new hobby."
- Federation of Astronomical Societies Newsletter
"This book does a good job of covering most of the aspects of starting recreational astronomy, from naked eye observing to purchasing and using a telescope [...] the author has done what he set out to do by condensing the basic information together into one book as a general guide."
- Hazel Collett, Journal of the British Astronomical Association
Part I. Stargazing Techniques and Equipment:
1. With the naked eye alone
2. Binoculars: the next step
3. 'But I want a telescope!'
Part II. What's Up There?:
4. The Solar System
5. The deep sky
Part III. A Stargazing Glossary
Appendix 1. The Greek alphabet
Appendix 2: The Constellations
Some simple star charts
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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.