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Old 13th February 2020, 06:46 PM   #43
abaddon
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Republic of Ireland
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Thanks all.

Itís only been recently that I started spending time outside looking at the stars as a form of meditation/relaxation. I had never seen Venus so bright.

And now I know that maybe my phone isnít the most reliable instrument for star gazing. Maybe itís time to invest in better equipment. Any recommendations?
Yes. You have no idea what might tickle your interest (that is NOT a criticism) so the last thing you want to do is invest in whatever gear and find that your interest lies elsewhere.

So you need a cost effective entry point. Something that will facilitate your growing interest without a crippling cost. Also not much effort.

So your answer is to download Stellarium. It's free. It shows you what exactly is in your local sky at any time. I use it all the time.

Your next question is which piece of sky in the app relates to what piece of sky outside?

Also easy and also free.

Learn some constellation. Not all of them, that would be stupid. Just 2 or three that are enough to allow you to orient yourself your visible sky and the stellarium skymap.

That's easy. Assuming Northern hemisphere, find the Plough/Big Dipper. From that one can find Polaris, the current pole star. From those, on can identify, say, Cassiopeia (5 primary stars, easy to spot) and now you have three points of reference which you can use to match the skymap on your screen to the skymap over your head.

And you have spent nothing but a little time and personal effort.

Once you do that for a bit, it might be that you decide that some aspect of it intrigues you. This is always the point at which spending money becomes a thing. However, all is not lost. Your local astronomy clubs will be only too happy to allow you to peer through their gear. Thus you can "try before you buy" Furthermore, they will be free with advice on what gear is good or bad.

You don't have to build your own Kitt peak in a single action., or ever. The guy with the record for identifying Supernovae did it all from his back porch with a modest telescope.
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