Astronomy as Hobby – Studying the Skies by: Liza Arwati

Long before people developed telescopes, the night sky has had an appeal to humanity’s hearts that can’t be compared to anything else in existence. Many superstitions have sprouted up from observing the sky, most notably things like constellations, reading the stars to tell the future, and good fortune bestowed by ‘falling’ stars. Amateur astronomy is a hobby that has been around for quite awhile.

Even now, in this high technology and science era, the mystical fascinate of astronomy still keeping people to staring skyward to view the sun, the moon and the stars. Even though “hard” facts state that stars are simply huge suns billions of miles away, with no possible way to influence our lives and destinies, such logic gets blown away by the simple wonder of lying down on a blanket and looking up at a cloudless, star filled night.

The instruments used by amateur astrologers are quite simple, inexpensive, and easy to obtain. The first and the most obvious thing you’ll need is a telescope, the tool that will let you view the night sky with even greater clarity. Modern stargazing scopes made especially for amateur astronomers even include light filters and built in digital cameras that let you record details that you want to preserve.

Another simple device that every astronomy hobbyist need is a star chart. The star chart list all the known constellations, and most of the known celestial bodies aside from stars that you can view with a good telescope, like faraway galaxies and the other planets in our own solar system. Star charts sometimes come with books that give detailed dates and times when the said heavenly bodies are at their most visible, letting you plan ahead for your stargazing.

The last thing most amateur astronomers need in terms of equipment is a log. Whether typing records on a computer or scribbling in a physical notebook using pen and paper, a log lets astronomers keep track of what they’ve viewed, when, and anything noteworthy that occurred while scanning the skies. For some hobbyist, this time of contemplation makes them turn their astronomy logs into something of a personal diary as well.

With just these simple tools, telescope, star chart and log, anyone can begin astronomy as a hobby. But even without them and nothing more than a blanket to lie down on and look skywards, the most important thing is to hold a deep and abiding love for the skies in your heart, and to know that they can often defy logic science.

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