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AZgazer
2004-Apr-29, 12:54 AM
Hi BABB, I have been lurking here for months w/o a login and love the site. I am looking for advice on a starting point for someone new to astronomy. I am open to all suggestions, books, vidoes, web sites etc...

If you had a friend who came to you and said, "You know, I love looking at the sky at night and I want to learn more." What would you tell them?

Just a little background that may help, I have never attended any formal astronomy courses, but will be soon. (I am able to attend college for the first time at a ripe old age of 33, lol.) My fiance has a post graduate math background, so I do have help with the higher math involved if needed.

Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks in advance. :D

George
2004-Apr-29, 01:04 AM
=D> Welcome to the Board =D>

That's a nice first post.

Some areas for you to consider...
A local club is worth looking into.
Sky and Telescope or Astronomy are great magazines.
Your own scope or even time with some good binoculars.
Good books.

A lot has to do with what you have found appealing.

orangeSCT
2004-Apr-29, 03:11 AM
Welcome AZgazer. I lurked for about a year before I finally posted :oops: .
I was new to astromony just 3 years ago. What I found indespensible was
A) Sky and Telescope Mag
B) Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson
C) Local Astronomy Club
D Getting a telescope and spending countless hours scanning the skys

Not particularly in that order.
BTW to enjoy astronomy, college coursework and advanced mathmatics are not required (or even necessary). Serious scientific study of astronomy is another issue. All you need is a desire to learn more about the night sky, and the ability to function during the day on very little sleep :D Good luck.

AZgazer
2004-Apr-29, 03:15 AM
I have basically spent a lot of time star gazing, but nothing ever formal. I had been in AZ for the past 12 years and am currently on a brief hiatus to Illinois. I will be returning to AZ later this year and will be starting school then. As far as where I am headed now, I am torn between 2 loves, fascination with and a desire to understand/explore the universe and computers. I am not going to have to make a decision either way for 2 years as I take undergrad courses. I do however have a lot of knowledge/experience in computers/networking, so I am looking for some starter material geared more towards academia that will help me fairly evaluate options down the road.

I spent a night several years ago at a B&B in Flagstaff looking through a 10" scope the retired professor who ran the B&B had and have been yearning for more ever since. 8)

Some of the theories involved and more than anything the math behind them does seem intimidating, but I have never backed down from a challenge and don't feel like starting now. I guess I am asking is there a reference source out there not named "Astronomy for dummies" but containing the same info? :oops:

(Edit due to a post while I was responding. I am considering Astronomy as a field of study, so I am looking to move past the hobby state. Also, tyvm for the suggestions so far. :D )

Tensor
2004-Apr-29, 03:58 AM
As far as where I am headed now, I am torn between 2 loves, fascination with and a desire to understand/explore the universe and computers.

Well, the two actually go good together. A lot of the data analysis is done with computers. Ask the BA. :wink:


Some of the theories involved and more than anything the math behind them does seem intimidating, but I have never backed down from a challenge and don't feel like starting now.

Well, I went back to school to start the math when I was 42. Got to the point where the local CC couldn't help me anymore and started in on my own. If you're at a 4 year school, you will have more resources than I did, so the math shouldn't be a problem.


I guess I am asking is there a reference source out there not named "Astronomy for dummies" but containing the same info? :oops:

(Edit due to a post while I was responding. I am considering Astronomy as a field of study, so I am looking to move past the hobby state. Also, tyvm for the suggestions so far. :D )

"The Backyard Astronomer's Guide" would be a good start, among others.

AGN Fuel
2004-Apr-29, 04:20 AM
As far as where I am headed now, I am torn between 2 loves, fascination with and a desire to understand/explore the universe and computers.

Well, the two actually go good together. A lot of the data analysis is done with computers. Ask the BA. :wink:

Tensor is absolutely bang on. You will find that any astronomy degree that you complete will probably involve a goodly number of computing units. As your wife is a mathematician to help with the trickier stuff, you should be set! :wink:

So, if those two topics are your loves, then get into an astronomy degree and enjoy them both! :D

(BTW: welcome to the board!)

George
2004-Apr-29, 03:01 PM
A good bulletin board might be helpful, too! :) The BAB has re-kindled my love and I'm now reading astronomy and physics books, and, normally, I don't even like to read! :)