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General Astronomy => Beginners Forum => Topic started by: unoritvie on December 24, 2017, 09:08:18 AM

Title: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: unoritvie on December 24, 2017, 09:08:18 AM
Hello all,
I am looking for a book to help my son and I understand the night sky before we make our very first telescope buy.  We are in need of something very basic.  Thanks Beforehand.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Jim Parker on December 24, 2017, 10:56:08 AM
Get a planisphere like this one HERE (http://www.amazon.com/Night-30%C2%B0-40%C2%B0-Large-North-Latitude/dp/0961320753/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1453947123&sr=8-1&keywords=planisphere), follow the directions on itand then go out at night and look up!

I would also suggest a fantastic set of binoculars, 10X50s will probably be OK, Amazon carries a nice selection.  Remember, you can spend nearly up to a bino setup as a extent, but I do not think that is necessary.

In order to get a fantastic book, I would suggest THIS (http://www.amazon.com/Backyard-Astronomers-Guide-Terence-Dickinson/dp/1554073448/ref=pd_sim_14_3?ie=UTF8&dpID=512A%2B6SEEnL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR121%2C160_&refRID=0KCAGSPEB5T02V23J686).

Hope this helps!

Clear skies!

CB

Oh!  And welcome to Cloudy nights!
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Matt Gibbs on December 31, 2017, 05:32:12 PM
For a book, try Turn Left at Orion: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0521153972 (http://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundreds-Telescope/dp/0521153972)

Also try the free software Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org/ (http://www.stellarium.org/)
It shows you the sky as it looks from where you live. Obviously if you start it in the day, it will show you the sun and blue sky. Fast forward to after sunset.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Carl Hanks on January 08, 2018, 07:06:52 AM
Both of those books are great. the first one is more of an overview, while Turn Left is oriented more toward what you can expect to see, and where. As I say, both are very worthwhile.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: sihealhdoggse on January 08, 2018, 01:13:04 PM
I don't have a book suggestion but I'll second the Stellarium free software. My 7yr old loves to play around and he even came home from school last week with a list of 4 dwarf planets to look up. Stellarium had them all. He really likes looking at the planets and the moon with it too.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Adam Mann on January 09, 2018, 04:49:08 AM
IAU sky charts can be downloaded free. The PDF files can be printed out and the GIF files work well on a mobile device.
http://www.iau.org/p...tellations/#cas (http://www.iau.org/public/themes/constellations/#cas)

Astro League has programs and awards that you may find useful.
https://www.astrolea...rvingClubs.html (https://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/AlphabeticObservingClubs.html) 

Here are some affordable 10X50 binoculars.
http://www.ebay.com/...aAAAOSwKIpWFTUq (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Garrett-10x50mm-Gemini-binocular-shipped-directly-from-Oberwerk-CLOSE-OUT-/121781139503?hash=item1c5ab8b82f:g:caAAAOSwKIpWFTUq)
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Justin Lewis on January 09, 2018, 07:50:08 AM
I agree, both of those books are excellent. If you would like something a little more accessible, if your son is young, 'Nightwatch', also by Terry Dickinson (author of the already recommended 'The Backyard Astronomer's Guide').

And welcome to Cloudy Nights! I hope you and your son enjoy many happy years under the stars!
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: crypagsperless on January 10, 2018, 03:02:52 AM
+1 for Turn Left at Orion.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: trapoutampub on January 10, 2018, 07:07:27 AM
10x50 binoculars

Nightwatch, Dickenson, has lunar, solar, and star maps that includes the constellation figures. Spiral bound and viewable with a red lens light so it makes for a great outdoors reference. I prefer it over Left Turn at Orion (also has lunar, solar, star maps but doesn't work as well at my early level, purely personal).

Planisphere.

Backyard Astronomer, Dickenson and Dyer, is my all time favorite, a coffee table sized reference and good for bedtime reading even, great advice on getting into this hobby, the one book I keep going back to (among my dozen references). Inconvenient (large) for outdoors use.

Welcome to CN.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Adam Mann on January 10, 2018, 10:11:31 AM
The planisphere is easier reading held overhead or imagine held aloft. That's why if orient N North like a map E and W inverted. Sometimes this (minor?) detail overlooked at first. Easy to get use to reading inverted map. No deadline to final test of having fun! The sky and contents will still be there. Good plan of asking questions here before first purchase of telescope or... If astronomy club close by check into night of looking through others equipment and listen. Plenty of good stuff to choose from, More important find out easy way what Not to choose.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: grafpievimel on January 10, 2018, 10:54:04 AM
Quote
Backyard Astronomy, Dickenson and Dyer, is my all time favorite.
Backyard Astronomy is a great book, but I think it's too fierce for the average beginner. Certainly not "really, really basic" as requested by the original poster.Nightwatch would be a much better bet.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Marvin Neboet on January 11, 2018, 09:44:10 AM
Quote
For a book, try Turn Left at Orion: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0521153972 (http://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundreds-Telescope/dp/0521153972)

Also try the free software Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org/ (http://www.stellarium.org/)
It shows you the sky as it looks from where you live. Obviously if you start it in the day, it will show you the sun and blue sky. Fast forward to after sunset.


Rather than retype it let me say that I would have made this same suggestion. I use Stellarium almost every day. And TLAO will set your expectation properly as what things will actually look like in binoculars and in a telescope. They don't look like the Hubble telescope pictures.

I started with 10X50 binoculars and spent 2 months laying out in the yard looking up at the sky and getting to know what was up there. It was exciting to start to recognize things and to feel acquainted with the stars as I walked out my front door. 10 X50s are the best for hand held. Don't be tempted to go to higher mag as you get too much shake in the image at higher mag and some people prefer 7 or 8X.

If you have the money you can get some really niceones for about $100 BUT my first pair cost me $25 from Harbor Freight. Inexpensive and Harbor Freight often has coupons so you can get them for $20. With these you can see a lot more than you can with the naked eye. I just sold mine to a friend for $10 to help him get going. I may get another pair.
http://www.harborfre...lars-94527.html (http://www.harborfreight.com/10-x-50-wide-angle-binoculars-94527.html)

My other companion under the stars was a Planisphere. Your son will likely prefer something for the phone or tablet, like SkEye, but I found the planisphere great!
http://www.amazon.co..._=sr_1_3&sr=8-3 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1928771017?keywords=planisphere&qid=1454157330&ref_=sr_1_3&sr=8-3)

The binoculars will not go to waste once you get your telescope. I have 3 telescopes and I use my binoculars as much as the telescopes. For quick 10-15 minute sessions, for travel, you can't beat binoculars and they are great for daytime use too.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: coreanoguf on January 12, 2018, 01:02:55 AM
All of the above and join an astronomy club If you are lucky enough to have one in your area
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Jason Pederes on January 12, 2018, 06:42:17 AM
Again, Thanks for all the suggestions. I've purchased a planisphere that Viking 1 recommended. Also, I purchased a planetarium from smithsonian to get my 3 year old son's brain flowing. Hopefully this will be the start of him and I building life long memories together.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Ryan Hernandez on January 12, 2018, 06:56:26 PM
Quote
Again, Thanks for all the suggestions. I've purchased a planisphere that Viking 1 recommended. Also, I purchased a planetarium from smithsonian to get my 3 year old son's brain flowing. Hopefully this will be the start of him and I building life long memories together.


A planetarium? One that projects stars on the walls and ceiling? Brilliant move for a 3 year old. That should get him going.

A real fun tool for YOU is a 5 MW green laser pointer. As you become more familiar with the sky you can use this to point to the stars to help him see what you are showing him. I use mine during sessions where I have friends over. It helps a lot. But it is not a toy for him.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: bullgidava on January 13, 2018, 05:59:33 AM
Now that we know he is three, let me direct you to a post I did a while back that might be relevant.

Getting Kids involved in Astronomy - Cloudy Nights
http://www.cloudynig...d-in-astronomy/ (http://www.cloudynights.com/topic/521157-what-would-be-your-approach-to-getting-kids-involved-in-astronomy/)

If Daddy got binoculars and he has his own binoculars the two of you could have so much fun together with birds and boats and astronomy. As he learns to use binoculars he will be more ready for a telescope. Take a look at the discussion above.

Here are some kids binoculars that might be fun for a 3 year old. Looking at stars in any serious manner might be a challenge but looking at birds or boats in the harbor with these might work.
http://www.amazon.co...en's binoculars (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=children%27s+binoculars)
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: luseatcidood on January 13, 2018, 06:40:39 AM
I agree that binoculars are a great way to start kids on learning the sky. I have a pair of inexpensive 7x35 that I let kids and adults use while they wait their turn to look at the scope. They are amazed on how many more stars they can see

here is a link to the pair I have
http://www.amazon.co...R49VW111PNVEKEZ (http://www.amazon.com/Bushnell-Falcon-7x35-Binoculars-Case/dp/B00004TBLW/ref=pd_sim_200_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=4177CW6RHZL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=1NEHSR49VW111PNVEKEZ)
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: brascharnide on January 13, 2018, 07:39:41 AM
Quote
Again, Thanks for all the suggestions. I've purchased a planisphere that Viking 1 recommended. Also, I purchased a planetarium from smithsonian to get my 3 year old son's brain flowing. Hopefully this will be the start of him and I building life long memories together.

I see that clearwaterdave (post #18) said what I was going to say. I've never seen these books, but since you're looking, and since your son is three, perhaps the books by Rey willbe what you're looking for. I know my kids liked the Curious George stories...
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: globleferep on January 13, 2018, 02:18:10 PM
Quote
Quote

Again, Thanks for all the suggestions. I've purchased a planisphere that Viking 1 recommended. Also, I purchased a planetarium from smithsonian to get my 3 year old son's brain flowing. Hopefully this will be the start of him and I building life long memories together.

I see that clearwaterdave (post #18) said what I was going to say. I've never seen these books, but since you're looking, and since your son is three, perhaps the books by Rey willbe what you're looking for. I know my kids liked the Curious George stories...

Actually Jack, H A Rey's astronomy books are a little older level than Curious George... I don't think the three year old will be reading them himself or anything...

But they ARE exactly what these folks need anyway, I think. They are a great introduction to the sky, and I consulted themheavily for myquite well-received class on learning the sky that Itaught at the site on Saturday.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Abdullahi Archer on January 14, 2018, 02:35:10 AM
I'm too old and cantankerous to break in a new father.......

at three, there's not much to do except let him take a peek or just lay in the grass pointing out the "pictures in the sky".....which will come in handy as he gets older....a set of binoculars for these sessions might be useful. At this age, it's a good time to introduce him on how to handle and take care of the equipment, but mostly at this age, it's about spending time with them that's important....
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Antonio Stanton on January 16, 2018, 03:47:40 AM
Quote
Actually Jack, H A Rey's astronomy books are a little older level than Curious George... I don't think the three year old will be reading them himself or anything...

But they ARE exactly what these folks need anyway, I think. They are a great introduction to the sky, and I consulted themheavily for myquite well-received class on learning the sky that Itaught at the site on Saturday.
I was thinking more about writing style than actual content...

Quote

but mostly at this age, it's about spending time with them that's important....

Agreed. As much as possible because it seems like by tomorrow they won't be interested in anything you are and then you'll have to feign interest in what they like if you ever want to see them.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: John Weiland on January 17, 2018, 11:28:16 PM
Quote
For a book, try Turn Left at Orion: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0521153972 (http://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundreds-Telescope/dp/0521153972)

Also try the free software Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org/ (http://www.stellarium.org/)
It shows you the sky as it looks from where you live. Obviously if you start it in the day, it will show you the sun and blue sky. Fast forward to after sunset.

Ya know, I seen this book recommended a 100+ times for beginners and never bought it. After browsing through it on Amazon, I realize that it's more than a beginners book and is for everyone. I'm in this hobby for over 40 years now and I think I'm going to buy a copy. I have quite a few of astro books and magazines, but I like the way these pages are set up.

Oh and +1 on stellarium, I use it all the time to get an idea of what's up and will look at that night. After you get your feet wet and familiar with the sky, a good astro-App for your smart phone would be a good idea.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Michael Hobbs on January 18, 2018, 08:51:51 AM
Quote
Quote

For a book, try Turn Left at Orion: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/0521153972 (http://www.amazon.com/Turn-Left-Orion-Hundreds-Telescope/dp/0521153972)

Also try the free software Stellarium: http://www.stellarium.org/ (http://www.stellarium.org/)
It shows you the sky as it looks from where you live. Obviously if you start it in the day, it will show you the sun and blue sky. Fast forward to after sunset.


Rather than retype it let me say that I would have made this same suggestion. I use Stellarium almost every day. And TLAO will set your expectation properly as what things will actually look like in binoculars and in a telescope. They don't look like the Hubble telescope pictures.

I started with 10X50 binoculars and spent 2 months laying out in the yard looking up at the sky and getting to know what was up there. It was exciting to start to recognize things and to feel acquainted with the stars as I walked out my front door. 10 X50s are the best for hand held. Don't be tempted to go to higher mag as you get too much shake in the image at higher mag and some people prefer 7 or 8X.

If you have the money you can get some really niceones for about $100 BUT my first pair cost me $25 from Harbor Freight. Inexpensive and Harbor Freight often has coupons so you can get them for $20. With these you can see a lot more than you can with the naked eye. I just sold mine to a friend for $10 to help him get going. I may get another pair.
http://www.harborfre...lars-94527.html (http://www.harborfreight.com/10-x-50-wide-angle-binoculars-94527.html)

My other companion under the stars was a Planisphere. Your son will likely prefer something for the phone or tablet, like SkEye, but I found the planisphere great!
http://www.amazon.co..._=sr_1_3&sr=8-3 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1928771017?keywords=planisphere&qid=1454157330&ref_=sr_1_3&sr=8-3)

The binoculars will not go to waste once you get your telescope. I have 3 telescopes and I use my binoculars as much as the telescopes. For quick 10-15 minute sessions, for travel, you can't beat binoculars and they are great for daytime use too.
Ed, are you strapping your phone or tablet to your Dob to use Skeye as a push-to scope? I heard about doing that and I have a Dob too.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: hanatuaser on January 18, 2018, 09:02:03 AM
Quote
Ed, are you strapping your phone or tablet to your Dob to use Skeye as a push-to scope? I heard about doing that and I have a Dob too.
No I am not. My pushto on my dob is via the Orion Intelliscope feature of the XT8i. I have heard of people trying to do that but from what I hear it is not accurate enough. Plus, the metal tube can throw the compass of the phone off.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Greg Quevedo on January 21, 2018, 04:03:39 AM
Regardless of what books, binoculars or telescope you may get, just keep learning together and you'll enjoy it as much (or more) than he does. I really enjoyed my son's company under the stars as he was growing up. In his late teens, he wasn't as interested in heading out for weekend camping/astronomy trips, but even now that he's in his twenties, if he's around when I'm observing, he always is interested in spending some time.

We have a few father/son teams who attend our club meetings and our star parties and they really seem to enjoy spending time together with the hobby. Hope you have as much fun as they do!
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: tyrrcencifunc on January 21, 2018, 07:15:50 AM
Quote
Ed, are you strapping your phone or tablet to your Dob to use Skeye as a push-to scope? I heard about doing that and I have a Dob too.
What I have heard of people doing successfully is attaching a magnetic digital angle gauge to the tube of the Dobsonian scope. Perhaps something like this:http://www.sears.com...1&blockType=G11 (http://www.sears.com/johnson-level-professional-magnetic-digital-angle-locator-2/p-00948961000P?prdNo=11&blockNo=11&blockType=G11)Then using a compass to work in combination with Alt/Az coordinates from Stellarium or SkEye or one of the others. I don't know how accurate this is but it should get you into the correct area or at least confirm that you are in the correct part of the sky.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Tim Massey on January 25, 2018, 11:13:06 PM
Ok so my amateur side is starting to show. The planisphere I ordered is for the Northern hemisphere, and it's for 30-40 deg northern latitude. I'm in Texas (Houston). Will this work????
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Devon Dank on January 30, 2018, 08:08:21 AM
Quote
Ok so my amateur side is starting to show. The planisphere I ordered is for the Northern hemisphere, and it's for 30-40 deg northern latitude. I'm in Texas (Houston). Will this work????

Houston is at 29.5N. It should work. You won't notice half a degree visually.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: Omar Manning on February 02, 2018, 03:08:30 PM
hello all, I know I have a lot of questions but the vast amount of information y'all have shared I truly appreciate. Just an update. I took my planisphere outside tonight. I had trouble looking north for some reason so i decided to face south. I found my first star. It was Sirius. I had to utilize YouTube in order to find out how to use my planisphere though.
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: James Runninger on February 03, 2018, 08:05:06 AM
Also, I looked a bit West and found orion's belt
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: safrioheartli on February 03, 2018, 12:59:34 PM
Quote
hello all, I know I have a lot of questions but the vast amount of information y'all have shared I truly appreciate. Just an update. I took my planisphere outside tonight. I had trouble looking north for some reason so i decided to face south. I found my first star. It was Sirius. I had to utilize YouTube in order to find out how to use my planisphere though.

Quote

Also, I looked a bit West and found orion's belt


You are now on the same path I followed. But I started learning the sky in June, so what was up there at that time was different.

I found Vega. Then I identified Epsilon Lyre. Then I started to build out from Vega. Each night I started at Vega. I did my research around Vega. What was around Vega? I found Wikipedia to be a HUGE help.

I learned about the Summer Triangle which gave me Altair and Deneb. The planisphere started to make sense.

I reread the instructions and realized how I was to hold it up to the sky, not flat in front of me. The sky started to make sense.

Then I learned about the Northern Cross. Then about Albireo, the coat hanger, then Cassiopeia and the Great Square in Pegasus. As you learn each one you gain confidence.

SkEye is an app that you can put on your android phone.  You point it at a bright star and it will give you the star's name. Just learn the names of the 5 or 6 of brightest stars.  On any given evening there are only about 8 bright stars I can identify by name, but they are my sign posts.

I built one star and one asterism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asterism_(astronomy)) at a time until the sky outside my front door became familiar.  I added Taurus, which included the Pleiades and the Haydes cluster. Then Orion became my obsession and I studied Orion.  And each month I spent a little time studying the moon.

Like a new driver I learned once street, then another, then how to get to the mall, then what was near the mall until I knew my area.

You are on such an exciting path of discovery. Don't try to learn it all, learn it one star and one asterism and one constellation at a time. And you can do it all with binoculars. After you get your telescope, you advance one star, one asterism, one constellation at a time.

What’s Out Tonight
http://whatsouttonight.com/ (http://whatsouttonight.com/)
Title: Re: Learning a new Father/Son Hobby
Post by: bauradoubpay on February 04, 2018, 11:35:39 AM
My son likes the Night Sky app on our iPad. It's a little easier to carry around than using Stellariam on our laptop for quick backyard peeking, and screen is big enough to give you a decent field of view compared to a phone.