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Hi Very new to Astronomy. Got a tele. for Christmas in 2001 Have got it out often and looked at the wonders above. I "bought" a star, or just named one, and I like to keep an eye on it. Hope to be able to share with you all.

Wendie
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For those who are new to Astronomy or even experienced this book is
IMHO a must have introduction and reference to the hobby:

Nightwatch : A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1552093026/ref=pd_sim_books/103-5173756-2563865

One of the best sections of the book are a series of detailed maps that show the various deep sky objects and where they are located with respect to the major constellations. The maps also include info on what type of instrument you will need to view them (binoculars, small telescope, or large).

Very worthwhile.

-KQ
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IMO Nightwatch is indeed the best introduction to amateur astronomy. There is another book that I found extremely helpful, The Stars a New Way to See Them by H. A. Rey (the Curious George guy). This book will teach you the constellations. He doesn't use the traditional figures, but draws new lines between the same stars that actually look like a picture of what the constellation is named after. This makes it much easier to learn the constellations; I used this book to learn them in 3rd grade. Knowing the constellations is essential for finding things to look at with your telescope, as the maps that are detailed enough to star-hop to interesting objects cover a small area of the sky, small enough that it isn't obvious which patch of sky they are representing. If you kow the constellationbs well, you'll know where in the broad expanse of the sky to look for the stars on your map.

Constellation hunting is in itself a rewarding activity. It is nice when you are getting home late in the dead of winter to see the spring constellations telling you that warmth is on the way. It is also fun to try and pick out constellations as soon as possible after sunset; this exercise will greatly improve your familiarity with their arrangement between each other. ..

In the end, learning the night sky is like learning your way around a city you've just moved to: in the beginning, you are constantly using the streetmap, but eventually you can go anywhere in town without a map, and you do a lot more.

Clear Skies!

- Joe
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There is another book that I found extremely helpful, The Stars a New Way to See Them by H. A. Rey (the Curious George guy).

Heya Joe,

I was about to mention that book myself! I just read it for the first time, and it's amazing how much of the basics Rey covers, especially toward the back of the book after the constellations. All in a clear, concise way.

Cheers,

orangeblood
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it's amazing how much of the basics Rey covers, especially toward the back of the book after the constellations. All in a clear, concise way.

Yeah, but did you catch that picture of a hypothetical astronoaut on the Moon? He's got this thick disk on his head to protect him from meteors! Now the last couple years, Leonid bits (not your largest space junk by any measure) were hitting the Moon with enough oomph to make flashes visible from earth! So our poor astronaut is lugging around 20 pounds of false security on his head--one hit and he's toast! Oh well, it was the fifties. The rest of the book is truly great, but I get a kick out of that picture!

- Joe
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Hey, All!

Thanks so much for the leads on those two books! They sound like exactly what I've been looking for. While always fascinated with the stars, I'm relatively new to astronomy (and was tickled to simply find this board yesterday!)...up until now, I've relied a lot on Jack Horkheimer's weekly scripts, so I think this will be a welcome addition to my library.

Looking forward to learning a lot! (Maybe that $30 membership fee is gonna pay off even beter than I thought...*!*)

~ mike


P.S. And just how cosmic is it that The Very First Thread I read here is called "New To Astronomy"?!
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