Welcome to my new blog. I’ve loved astronomy since I was young, though more as an armchair astronomer, reading about stars and galaxies. Several years ago, I started developing an interest in actually observing the night sky, trying to match what I saw to what I knew. That interest has waxed and waned over the years, but I never stopped looking up whenever I was outside at night.
I’ve always been a casual observer, a dilettante. When I think of the term “amateur astronomer”, I envision someone with more dedication, knowledge, and sophistication than I. But recently I’ve been wanting to take stargazing a bit more seriously. In particular, I can only recognize a handful of constellations, and I’d really like to become familiar with the entire night sky. Even without looking at a star chart, I would like to be able to look up and find my way around the sky (a task made harder by light pollution and view obstruction where I live). And eventually, I’d like to be able to do more than pick out the brightest stars in the most salient constellations.
I was browsing Sky & Telescope’s How to Start Right in Astronomy, and one of the author’s suggestions was to keep an astronomy diary. The more I thought about it, the more I liked this idea. What better way to learn the sky than by recording what I’ve seen? I decided to start keeping a log in my notebook, but I also liked the idea of keeping a blog as a companion to my log. I hope to share some of my thoughts and perspectives, and perhaps some of my observations as I explore the night sky.
I’m still at a beginner’s level, so I welcome commentary from all levels — it would be nice to have experience from more advanced astronomers and questions from other beginners. Exploring the night is more fun, and more rewarding, if you can explore with others.