Educational Resources

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Backyard Astronomy


The Hobby

Amateur Astronomy
Detailed Wikipedia article provides a good introduction to the hobby of backyard astronomy.
Great for beginners. Practical info on getting started, equipment recs, best sky sites, more. See also:
Backyard Astronomer’s Guide (top reviews on amazon).

Sky & Telescope
Locus of general info on skywatching, space science, and amateur astronomy. News/info on observing, equipment reviews, DIY articles, local clubs, etc.

Amateur Astronomy Magazine
Magazine for the serious astronomy hobbyist. Once you’re hooked as a sky watcher, this is the site for you.
Fascinating site devoted to all things space. News, tech, telescope and gear reviews, search for ETLife, skywatching, much more.

Best Sources of Astronomical Images on the Web
Nearly two dozen links to top image sites and astronomical photo galleries on the web. Curated by well-known astronomer/educator, Andrew Fraknoi.

ISDA Dark Sky Finder
IDSA's dark sky finder, searchable by zip code. Click
here for a U.S. dark sky finder with addresses and notes on dark sky locations throughout the country.



Astronomers Without Borders
“We all share the same sky.” AWB strives to unite peoples of the world through a shared passion for astronomy and observation of the wonders of the Universe.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The oldest national astronomical society in the U.S. Founded in 1889, now one of the largest astronomical education organizations in the world.

Sidewalk Astronomers
Astro group based in San Francisco, founded by John Dobson (with whom I studied as a boy). Star parties with gigantic telescopes, telescope making classes, more.

International Dark Sky Association
Organization devoted to preserving dark skies, reducing light pollution, and keeping visible on Earth the majestic tableau of the wonderful nighttime Universe.

Your tax dollars at work! Check out general space news, missions (A-Z), awesome photo galleries, downloads, space exploration history, internships, more.



How to Choose Binoculars for Astronomy and Skywatching
A great way to begin enjoying the hobby is with a pair of good binoculars; this useful guide investigates pros and cons and helps you invest in the right pair.

Buying a First Telescope
Popular Mechanics guide explores buying a first telescope, including editors' 2018 recommendations. Excellent O'Reilly guide offers more nuanced, detailed info

Starter Binoculars
Can you actually get a good pair of astro-binoculars for $35? Yes, indeed you can! Celestron Cometron 7x50 binoculars have sold for under $25 during the holidays.

Meade AdventureScope 80mm Refractor
Same optical tube as the Orion ST80. Great entry-level bargain scope: under $90! Excellent for visual astronomy. Will also serve budding astrophotographers well.

AWB OneSky 130mm Reflector
Superb starter option. Great value at less than $200 ... half of which goes to astro-education in poor countries. 130mm f/5, collapsable, grab-and-go, great design.

Apertura AD8 8-Inch Reflector with Accessories
Best kit for serious beginners. Powerful/portable f/5.9 200mm Dob w/ 2-inch dual speed focuser, 1.25 and 2-inch eps, laser collimator, more: $450! Push-to kit



Highpoint Scientific
One of the top online astro and optical products dealers. Detailed descriptions, specs, and reviews make it easy to do requisite pre-sales research.

Agena Astroproducts
Another well-known and respected dealer, Agena sells astronomy-related products only. Detailed info, excellent customer product reviews.

Telescopes Plus
Astro-only dealer, large selection. Make a visit here to peruse
daily specials and compare specs and prices. (Woodland Hills)
Smaller dealer of high-end astro equipment and photographic gear.
Clearance items are well worth checking out.

B&H Photo Video
Reputable online dealer of astro, photo, video, audio gear. Good prices, service. Small
used astro gear department.


Astronomy Classifieds and Used Sales

Cloudy Nights Classifieds
Stop number one when looking for good used gear. Serious amateurs shop here for good deals on all things astro.

Another large astronomy classifieds site utilized by experts to buy and sell used astro gear. Like Cloudy Nights, requires registration.

Astronomy Forum Classifieds
Last of the big three used astro gear sites. Includes auctions, and also requires registration.

High Point Scientific: Used Equipment
Certified pre-owned astro and other optical equipment, Items are professional inspected, adjusted, graded, guaranteed.

Optcorp Used Telescope and Astronomy Equipment
Certified used items are tested by technicians for full functionality and warrantied. Good prices. Financing available.



Cloudy Nights
Top online amateur astronomy community. Experts and novices interact, sharing secrets, tips, news, recommendations, reviews, equipment for sale.

Stargazers Lounge
Another highly popular forum for amateur astronomers. Useful resources and links, astro-events calendar, blogs, clubs, more.

Astronomy Forum
Yet another astro-geek hangout. 1,000,000+ posts on all manner of topics related to the hobby of amateur astronomy.



Best Free Stargazing Apps of 2018
Never been easier, more fun to study the stars! Point a device skyward, get AR view, info on: constellations, planets, satellites. Other best app lists
here, here, here.

If you're serious about the hobby you already have this. It's a miracle that Stellarium is free. Unparalleled.



The High Point Scientific Eyepiece Guide
Excellent overview of the eyepiece question by experts at High Point Scientific. Designs? Makers? Focal length? FOV? Read this before investing serious $$.

Field of View Calculator / Telescope Simulator
Virtually combine telescope, eyepiece, barlow, camera and see how Messier and solar system targets will look. Get FOV, image data. Binos too. Try before you buy!

Copyright © 2006-Present: Christopher R. Borland. All Rights Reserved.