From Here To Kolob

Naked Eye Observations: Crash Course Astronomy #2

- Work it into an evening in the backyard. If you know the night sky will be particularly exciting the night of a big family barbecue, plan to have some blankets out there. Then as everybody else is playing Frisbee, just lay out a blanket, lay flat on your back and start staring up into the sky with a binoculars. 

You can set aside some quality hours with people who know telescopes and have their rigs set up to examine their equipment, learn the key technical aspects, and try them out before you sink money in your own set up. There are other considerations to factor into your final purchase decision. How mobile must your telescope be? 

At the time when you see the first one, it s easy to remember the movie war of the worlds or some other fantastic image of aliens entering our atmosphere in droves to take over the planet. But with some guidance and explanation of what was going on, we eventually learned that these showers were not at all threatening or any kind of invasion. 

In modern times, we as people of science discount the astrological side and focus on the astronomy of the heavens. But they were one study for millennia before the age of science made them separate. There is historical evidence that astronomy was a recognized science as far back as the Babylonian civilization hundreds of years before Christ. 

Expectations were high as the orbiting telescope was put in place and actually began to function as it was designed to do. All was not always perfect with the telescope and the early pictures were disappointing. After some study NASA discovered that the reason for the early failures was the curvatures of one of the main lenses of the orbiting telescope. 

Whatever the cause, people of every age and every nation share this one deep interest, to know more about the universe that our tiny planet is just a part of. It s rather strange because the actual conduct of a serious student of astronomy is really not the stuff of high adventure. You will never see a Raiders of the Lost Arc or Jurassic Park movie made about an astronomer.