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How to develop a better understanding of astronomy/astrophysics?

  1. Sep 23, 2012 #1
    Hey guys,
    I've always had an interest in astronomy/astrophysics, but the thing is, my strengths don't lie in science and it takes me a very long time (and often a great struggle) to understand even the simplest of concepts. However, later in life I wish to study astrophysics, and I was wondering if there were any ways at all that would help me understand the field better. A lot of people have told me to give up, but I really don't want to, because this is something I really want and I'm willing to work for it. So is there anything I can do, any books I can read, or even someone I can talk to - anything at all that will help me understand the formulas and theories?
    And I know that it might seem stupid because most of you know what you're doing and will probably think I'm an idiot for even asking, but I really want to learn. I don't want to have to give up on something I really want.
    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Can you get your hands on some basic astronomy texts just to get you started? That might be a good idea. Then move on to more advanced materials once you have grasped the basics.

    Good luck.
  4. Sep 23, 2012 #3


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    Science Advisor

    Books are indeed the typical way to go. Just remember when reading them that it's not like reading a novel, for a couple of reasons. First, you might have to re-read the same section before things sink in fully. Second, these kind of textbooks are meant to be an interactive experience. If the author is doing a derivation and skips some steps, it's expected that you fill them in! Now, sometimes you can do them in your head and it makes perfect sense, but often you cannot and you seriously do need to get out a pen and paper and figure it out! If you don't do this, things 'seem' to make sense when reading, but you never truly grasp what's going on.
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