Messier Observer's Planisphere

Stargazing Basics

Learn Constellations with a Planisphere

How do you find out what stars are visible tonight? With a planisphere or "star wheel." It's easy!

Gemini on Sky Atlas 2000.0

Stargazing Basics

How to Use a Star Chart at the Telescope

Here's what you need to know to navigate the heavens with a telescope and star atlas.

Using a star chart

Stargazing Basics

Video: Using Star Charts and Star Wheels

Watch S&T senior editor Alan MacRobert show and explain how to use star charts and planispheres (star wheels).

Two kinds of vision receptors line the retina

editor

Improve Your Night Vision: Spectacles for Spectacular Skies

Have you ever felt that you ought to be able to see more in the night sky using just your unaided eyes? You may need nothing more than a new pair of eyeglasses.

Save Dark Skies

Rate Your Skyglow

Light pollution is most amateur astronomers' worst enemy. Learn here how to measure and describe how brightly your sky glows.

Orion

Stargazing Basics

The 50 Best Sights in Astronomy

S&T contributing editor Fred Schaaf takes a new approach to an old subjecty by describing the 50 best astronomical sights of any kind, from naked-eye spectacles to objects that can only be seen through telescopes at high magnification.

Galileo

Stargazing Basics

Stargazing with Early Astronomer Galileo Galilei

When Galileo Galilei first turned a telescope to the heavens four centuries ago, he discovered amazing things — and you can follow in his footsteps.

Stargazing Basics

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.

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