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Amateur Astronomy

FortKnox (169099) writes | about 12 years ago

Space 8

I've always "looked up" at night, and know a few constellations (I know I spelled that wrong), and always wonder what that bright thing in the sky is.I've always "looked up" at night, and know a few constellations (I know I spelled that wrong), and always wonder what that bright thing in the sky is.

I'd like to start to get into Amateur Astronomy (yeah, I know AnalogBoy already Asked Slashdot). But, as a twist, I can't really spend any money (baby comes in 5 weeks from friday at the latest). I'd like to find some non-spending ways to get into it a little bit. Any free software running on Windows (my linux box can't handle drawing of that magnitude)? Starmaps, etc? What about inexpensive alternatives to telescopes/binocs?

Analogboy is a reader, so tell me what you're experiences have been so far, please.

Any help is appreciated.

8 comments

Don't dismiss Linux (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 12 years ago | (#3277928)

Don't dismiss Linux offhand. The software is likely free, giving you money to pay for hardware upgrades. OTOH, you probably have to pay for the Windows software.

Hope all is well with pregnancy.

Re:Don't dismiss Linux (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#3277955)

I'm running a linux server on a P120MHz box with KDE running. I suppose it could possibly draw something, but the time it would take would be attrocious, plus I have no printer attached to the box.

Re:Don't dismiss Linux (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 12 years ago | (#3278270)

Yeah. That's pretty bad. You could share the printer with SMB (I assume it is networked with your Windows PC) Depending on the printer, it's not too hard.

Some ideas (1)

rutherford (522065) | about 12 years ago | (#3279150)

I'm also an amateur astronomer for some time and think that it is really the best thing to start with a very cheap binocular and a self-made tripod for it. Then buy a small star map or one of these small books for beginners which describe how to find constellations and objects without any tool.

If you want Software I suggest Xephem [clearskyinstitute.com] . This is a fantastic piece of software which is comparable to the very expensive Windows programs like "The Sky" and "Guide". It even has a windows version but you will need an Xserver so if you don't already have this it will become quite expensive.
A good starting point for free alternatives would be Seul/Edu [richtech.ca]

Amateur Astronomy. (2)

ender81b (520454) | about 12 years ago | (#3280069)

Here are a few suggestions:
  • If you are in college, take an entry-level astronomy course. This will be invaluable.
  • If not, join a local astronomy club. THESE guys know their s**t and will help you out
  • READ READ READ!!!! Heh, learning the star charts is a pain, you have to really really really look @ them alot to understand them

Re:Amateur Astronomy. (1)

FortKnox (169099) | about 12 years ago | (#3280169)

Not in college
Will look for astronomy club (dunno how... any astronomy club search websites?)
And any suggested reading?

Start with Tarot cards and almanacs... (2)

TechnoLust (528463) | about 12 years ago | (#3280692)

Oh... you said ASTRONOMY! In that case, have you tried the Drake Planeterium [drakeplanetarium.org] ? They used to do public shows every so often. I don't know how helpful that would be, but the ones in my area that I've been to were pretty good.
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