Welcome to the Beginner's Guide to Amazing Backyard Astronomy course from Love the Night Sky.
I'm Adam, the founder of LovetheNightSky.com and a passionate practitioner of backyard astronomy. I'm in my forties now, but I've loved staring at the stars since I was a kid.
I still remember the first time I pointed a toy telescope (that Santa was kind enough to bring one year) towards the moon and saw magnified craters for the first time... I was spellbound from that moment onwards.
In fact, over three decades later I still get a real joy from staring at the craters of Earth's nearest neighbor through my scope!
I studied the night sky into my late teens and then I got a steady girlfriend, discovered beer, and got serious about my job. Quickly I was married, promoted and had my first child... and time for astronomy fell out of my life.
Whizz forward twenty years or so and I decided it was time to get new telescope and begin enjoying the night sky once again.
The big difference this time around is that the internet existed, and I wanted to share what I was learning with other aspiring and amateur backyard astronomers... which is how Love the Night Sky was born.
As I got into my local astronomy club and spent more time on astronomy forums, I was saddened to hear more and more stories of people who either:
In response to that I'm growing Love the Night Sky to focus on helping you, and other amateurs like you, get more enjoyment from this wonderful hobby of ours. I want to help you have telescopic success and am passionate about showing you how to 'Love the Night Sky'.
This course is part of my mission to achieve that.
This Course's Mission
In this Beginner's Guide to Amazing Backyard Astronomy, you will quickly discover how to find some of the best sights the night sky has to offer for owners of smaller telescopes (apertures of 6 inches or less). I believe that the secret to getting hooked on astronomy is enjoying rewarding views through your telescope as soon as possible.
In the rest of this course, I am going to help you discover the five brightest planets and more than a dozen wonderful deep space objects (DSOs), such as galaxies and nebulae, with your telescope.
As much as possible I avoid lots of detailed explanations of tough concepts that, frankly, are not important for your first steps into this amazing hobby - my focus is on getting you outside and seeing great objects, not learning new coordinate systems!
I have explained anything that will help you enjoy your telescope more, and I've done so in a way that's easy to understand even if you have no background in astronomy.
My aim (and please let me know if I fall short on this) is to make sure that no matter what time of year you are reading this, you can go from this page to seeing at least one planet, nebula or galaxy by yourself through your own telescope within seven days.
In fact, there is no reason at all why you shouldn't see your first one tonight! (Other than the weather, which I sadly have no influence over)
All you need to do is have access to the 'essential equipment' list in the next lecture.
OK, enough talk, the clock is ticking.
I wish you clear skies and warm nights!
Let's get started...