Warmer weather is going to be upon us sooner than we think. Already the days are getting longer. Just this morning the sun was rising when I woke up, something it wasn’t doing just a week ago.
During the fine spring days we’re sure to be out working in our gardens, but it’s also an excellent time to enjoy another aspect of the outdoors, outer space. When the weather is cool there are few heat waves rising from the surface of the planet , so observing the night sky is much clearer. Only the hardiest stargazer is out with their Telescope during the cold winter months. However, once the weather starts to warm up you’ll find groups inviting you out to observe and learn all about stargazing and Telescopes .
There are different kinds of telescopes to learn about, what they’ll do and what features you’d like to have is important. Do you want to be able to use the telescope to look at distant objects right here on Earth; are you more interested in seeing our solar system; or are you keen on finding what’s lurking in deep space? For each of these types of viewing there are different telescopes.
Most of us are only familiar with refractor telescopes . Those are the long skinny ones we see in movies. Other styles of telescopes use mirrors, some with refractors, too, that help to focus the image in a much shorter body.
You might want to go to a star gazing gathering and have a look at all the different styles and sizes telescopes come in. They have all different prices, as well. Of course the more you pay the better the quality, but there are less expensive “beginner” models that do a good job. It’s good to talk to a lot of stargazers about their experiences, as many started with an entry model scope and can help you get started with the best bang for your buck.
Then just make up a thermos of hot cocoa, bring a big thick blanket, wrap up in your winter parka and cap, and venture out into the dark night of your own backyard.
One note, though, if you live in the city you may want to take a drive out into the country for better viewing. The light from the city makes seeing all that’s in the sky impossible. I remember being in Alaska out in the middle of nowhere, camping on a cold late summer evening (yes, in August it was already starting to freeze at night). I woke up in the middle of the night, after the fire had died, and looked out at a fairyland of light. There was almost not a spot in the sky that didn’t have a star in it! There was no light pollution and I could see the sky as it really is. Too bad I didn’t have a telescope with me then!