The night sky in 60 seconds

Athabasca_Glacier_Columbia_Icefield_Alberta_RockiesAs someone my wife has identified as “not a natural at team sports”, I firmly believe that amateur astronomy is one of the most exciting non-athletic pastimes…Sadly for some newbies, it’s also potentially one of the most intimidating.

As an astronomy magazine columnist and space author-for-hire, I’ve often thought “If only there was a way to make it easier”…Not ‘user-friendly-astronomy-guidebook-easier’…Like, ‘ordering-takeout-easier.’

telescope_black_diamond_gear_wildastroSo I’ve written this guide, based on what people looking through my telescopes at events and public talks have asked for, starting with this 60-second intro the the universe:

While we might like to think we have time to learn all the constellations and operate computer-controlled telescopes, most of us will never get around to it, even if the idea excites us.

moongazing_stars_jasper

What anyone can get around to is learning a constellation or two, finding out where a cool planet is tonight, OR how to see a particular galaxy through binoculars - things that the following pages can help you learn about.

Then, when a truly big sky event comes up – one that makes the evening news, like a bright comet, meteor shower or eclipse – you’ll be all-the-more-excited to take part.

And at that point, maybe you’ll even share what you’ve learned with someone else.

 

- Peter McMahon, Port Hope, Ontario, [occassionally], Jasper, Alberta, and 18 other dark sky preserves across Canada

 

OK, let’s get this party started…

 

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