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Locating stars

  1. Sep 19, 2004 #1
    hey guys.. well i am new in astronomy.
    kinda under age.. still 17
    but soon i am going to get a new telescope
    and the problem is that i hear a lot about
    "magnitude" and "latitude"
    but the problem is that i don't know how to deal with
    so please i would appreciate if someone can help
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2004 #2
    I think a good book will solve your problem.'NightWatch' by Terence Dickinson is often recommemded for beginners in astronomy.

    One thing I would ask you to do is not to go for a telescope immediately. If you are unfamiliar with the sky, pointing the telescope at a particular star or galaxy will be a daunting task. Try to learn the constellations out there and the brightest stars. Your eyes would give you the widest view of the sky, then you can proceed to binoculars which will help you to find out star clusters, a few nebulae and galaxies. If you can
    find your way through the skies, then you can decide upon your telescope. By that time, your taste might have changed i.e you may interested in lunar and planetary viewing than deep sky or vice-versa.

    A few websites that gives good introduction to astronomy...


    Hope this helps
  4. Sep 19, 2004 #3


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    Gold Member

    Excellent advice! Don't buy a telescope yet. Study the basics a bit, so that you understand the terms like magnitude, declination, angular separation, etc, then read some introductory articles to see where your interests might lie, at least to start (you will get side-tracked!)

    Next, buy a nice set of charts (Tirion's Sky Atlas 2000.0 is a good one) - that should be your first real purchase. Learn to navigate and locate things with your charts and your eyes, then view them with binoculars. 7x50's are common, can be found in pawn shops, etc. (if you don't have some already) and they are fine for astronomy - I always have a pair with me when I am out observing, even though I have a telescope and a large-aperture finder. Stay away from binoculars with small objective (front) lenses, and stay away from binoculars with zoom features or very high powers, etc. Keep them simple. In this case, the 7 means "7 power" and the 50 means the objective lenses are 50 mm in diameter.

    When you have learned your way around the sky, then decide on what type of telescope you will want. You need to consider not only the type of objects that you are most interested in viewing, but also price, portability, storage arrangements, etc. People here will be glad to help you make a good choice when you're ready.

    Welcome to astronomy!
  5. Sep 19, 2004 #4
    'NightWatch' by Terence Dickinson

    ^excellent book :)........i still use it all the time

  6. Sep 20, 2004 #5
    well, thanks guys, you've been so helpful,
    i will surely ask about that book,
    but the thing is that i found out that someone can lend me a telescope (one for beginners).
    I'll just have it for 5 or 6 months,
    this time which i will be spendig it in lebanon to graduate.
    but then i am going to canada, montreal, McGill to study AstroPhysics.
    by the way, ou were telling me to study constellations and star clusters, galaxies and nebulae.. etc..
    but i have to tell you that my passion is BH's. I just love it!
    i don't know if a telescope can help me to observe BH's
    does it?
  7. Sep 20, 2004 #6


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, you cannot observe a Black Hole with a Visible light telescope. (Funny thing about something that does not emit light!)

    You have a long way to go to get to Black holes, if you have an interest in Astro Physics then it would be well worth your time to learn about stars. As above start with naked eye observation. It cannot hurt to use the telescope to observe Saturn and the moons of Jupiter, (I am betting that is what it will do best). Meanwhile as long as you are outside at night, look up and learn your way around the sky. It is very satisfying to look up at night and see friends in the sky.
  8. Sep 20, 2004 #7
    thanks for the advise INTEGRAL
    i have now the book in mind and i'm going to ask for it
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