Re: (IAAC) Getting Started in Astronomy (was Re: 3.5 inch Bushnell)

Lew Gramer wrote:
> Art Benson of Sarasota, Florida, USA asks:
> >Is the 3.5 inch Bushnell 700mm reflector telescope a
> >good beginning telescope? Thanks and have a great day.


> 2) First, get comfortable with the night sky with
>    just your eyes... They are your best instrument!

And while you are at it, don't overlook the cultural aspects
of simple naked-eye observation while you learn the
constellations. The mythology of the star patterns affords a
fascinating glimpse into the world of the ancients, and most
constellations can be seen even in less than perfect skies.
There are a number of good books that will introduce you to
both the traditional Classical star groupings and their
familiar stories as well as to stories from other cultural
spheres. Great stuff all around ... and no equipment needed.
> 3) Then try getting a pair of BINOCULARS before
>    buying any telescope: 7x50 binoculars (i.e.,
>    7 power magnification, and lenses 50mm across)
>    are usually a good first choice. I bought one
>    pair of 7x50s 20 years ago, and STILL use them!

Indeed. That was my next step as a kid once I learned the
constellations. I have been using 6x30s and 7x50s again in
recent years, and with the latter have logged 60+ M objects
from my back field (lm: c. 5.5-6) over the last 2 seasons.
Binos are great for those nights when you just can't pull
out all the big stuff or you have only limited time ... but
want to check out a few things before bedtime.

John McMahon
Tully, NY
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