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Author: pitydaFool One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1805  
Subject: Re: What's up there? ... Date: 5/1/2012 10:21 PM
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Rich,

Congratulations on taking your first steps into a fascinating pastime. What follows is one man's views:

1. Don't think about getting a scope right now. That can come later. (I first got into amateur astronomy in 1988. I bought my first telescope in 2008.)
2. Get a set of binoculars, around 8x35 or so. These, plus your naked-eye sky viewing, will really give you a good start on learning the night sky.
3. Get a planisphere.
4. If at all possible, join a local astronomy club or society. You can glean vast amounts of knowledge from the members, plus see and use club assets and members equipment (at their invitation, of course.)
5. Visit the major astronomy websites: Cloudy Nights, Astronomics, AstroMart, etc. (Just make sure your credit cards stay in your wallet!)
6. Find a copy of Ken Fulton's "The Light-Hearted Astronomer." Read it, live it. When you get the urge to buy something, read it again.
7. The websites above, plus some web-searching, plus hanging out at your local astronomy club/society will help you develop a basic reading list.
8. Put the Tasco somewhere where small children and future astronomers can't get to it. It will cause more grief and frustration than it can enjoyment. There are NO decent, inexpensive telescopes. You can have decent, or you can have inexpensive...you can't have both. Right now, your Tasco is on the inexpensive side. (This will become much more clear when you get to look through a real instrument.)
9. Did I mention join a club? And Ken Fulton's tome?

Good luck and clear skies!

-Bruce
pitydaFool
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