Astronomy doesn't deserve its reputation as a tough, expensive hobby. You just need to begin with the right advice.
Everyone enjoys the brief and sometimes dazzling streaks of light from meteors, sometimes called "shooting stars." Sky & Telescope predicts that the two best meteor showers in 2017 will be the Quadrantids in early January and the Geminids in mid-December.
Why, and how, you should sketch your observations through a telescope.
Ordinary binoculars are your ideal "first telescope." And they're so versatile that even seasoned stargazers find them indispensable.
Thousands of telescopes are given and received as gifts during the holidays. But once you've assembled your new treasure, then what? The editors of Sky & Telescope show you where to look first.
Here are hyperlinks to many websites that can help you forecast the astronomical observing conditions for next few nights — or longer.
How to keep your optics dry and clear even on the dampest, dewiest nights.
Excellent? Typical? Urban? Use this nine-step scale to rate the sky conditions at any observing site.