Think Big (and Small)
My current observatory is a multilevel structure. It began as a plan to mount my telescopes on the roof of a small barn on the property.
How to Successfully Beat Atmospheric Seeing
"Seeing" — the atmospheric quivering that fuzzes out high-power views — is the bane of every telescope user. Here's how to minimize its impact.
Astronomy for Beginners: Getting Started in Astronomy
An easy guide to exploring the universe is just a quick download away. This PDF document contains valuable tips for beginner stargazers, a detailed Moon map, and six bimonthly star charts for either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.
Fuzzies in Your Future:
An Introduction to Deep-Sky Objects
Ready to voyage beyond the Solar System? Here's what you can see.
The Spectral Types of Stars
Without its spectral type, a star is a meaningless dot of light.
The Stellar Magnitude System
Why do larger numbers mean less light? Here's the story of astronomy's odd but beloved scheme for describing star brightnesses.
Tips for Using Your "Go To" Scope
Tips to ensure trouble-free slewing for Go To telescopes
Four Infamous Telescope Myths
Here are some plausible-sounding ideas that turn out to be less than true.
Binoculars: Halfway to a Telescope
All you need to enjoy the wonders of the night sky is a pair of binoculars.
The Setting Circles on Your Telescope
Beginners should ignore them and learn to navigate the sky by eyeball instead. However, setting circles do have their uses -- if you make all the right adjustments first.
Using a Naked-Eye Star Map
Just a couple hours spent learning to read a star map can open up the heavens for a lifetime of exploration.
A Simple Home Observatory in Your Backyard
Size can be deceptive; this small home observatory is remarkably practical.
Names of Deep-Sky Objects
Expert observer Brian Skiff explains NGC, UGC, and everything in between.
How to Care for Your Telescope Optics the Right Way
The mirror in your telescope will probably work fine with a bit of dust on it, but if it's really dirty, you may want to clean it — carefully!
Star Names: Where Do They Come From and What Do They Mean?
Confused by the bizarre names that astronomers have given the stars? Here's where they come from and what they mean.
Some Useful Astronomy Terms for Beginners
Take a few minutes to learn the most important astronomy terms.
Take a "Sat-seeing" Tour
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the International Space Station! Learn how to spot Earth's artificial satellites.
What Are Celestial Coordinates?
"Right ascension" and "declination" tell you where your telescope is pointed in the sky. But what do they really mean?
Time In the Sky and the Amateur Astronomer
While civil time is based on official edit, the celestial clockwork follows its own rhythms.
Observing from the City
With the stars increasing being lost amid the light pollution of our urban areas, is there no hope for an astronomer in the city? Fortunately, there's still a lot of observing that can be done.