By Dave Fuller on 7/27/2012 3:28 PM

I read a lot in the Beginner sections on Astronomy forums.  One of my main goals with the "Eyes on the Sky" videos is to help beginners learn the sky, and find things easily.  Of course, it's not a simple task - learning the sky takes time.  Andlearning about telescopes is even more daunting, given the myriad choices out there.  So when I see a beginner say, "I've enjoyed the stars for a long time - I'd like to buy a telescope, and even do astrophotography.  What scope should I get?" I want to cringe a little.  Okay, more than a little.  I want to cringe A LOT.  And usually I do.

Why, you ask?  Good question.

By Dave Fuller on 7/25/2012 2:53 PM

You know what bugs me?  And I don't mean bugs, as in mosquitoes (although they are annoying - but that's another, future blog post).  What bugs me is when a newcomer to astronomy - already having taken that first step towards discovering the wonders of the night sky, and is very likely very uncertain, hesitant, and doesn't want to feel stupid - asks a simple question, and is given a completely flippant, simplistic answer.  The one that comes to mind is the, "Hey, I'm trying to find things in the sky - can someone help me?" and the responses come back something like this, "Just download Stellarium."

Seriously?

By Dave Fuller on 7/16/2012 2:17 PM

Two days ago, there was an alert from Sky and Telescope magazine that indicated likely aurora over the next few days.  I had downloaded the app "Aurora Buddy" to my smartphone, and occasionally had received aurora reminders in the past.  In fact, I remember getting one on a night where lots of people in the Chicago area (who are also amateur astronomers) saw aurora.... and I MISSED it!  So I wasn't going to miss out if they were visible this time.

I looked on Friday night, as my phone "notified" me a couple times, but several treks outside netted me absolutely nothing.  On Saturday, the same happened, though this time the notifications were indicating higher activity.  I was REALLY bummed at this point, because not only had no one else see anything, but much of the higher activity had occurred during the DAY!  Ugh... had I missed the aurora due to... sunlight?

Turns out, I hadn't.

Apparently the best was yet to come....

The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.