Starting Off In Backyard Astronomy



Getting started in observing the cosmos from the comfort of your backyard is easy. Here we will show you how to get started in astronomy. All you need is a pair of eyes and a clear sky. Of course there isn't much you can do about the sky but as long as there is a clear patch there is always something interesting that you can see. I will list my favorite naked eye sky observations. The secrets to stargazing from your backyard are below:



Satellites


This one is fun. Great backyard astronomy for beginners. My dad and I have always been very excited about space. To this day I still look up at the sky before bed every night. One of my family's favorite activities is seeing who can spot the most satellites. I've developed an eye for it and usually do quite well. They appear more like fast moving planets than planes or stars. Of course from this far you wouldn't be able to see the blinking lights on them, what you can see is the sun reflecting off of them. On any given night you will be able to see plenty if you are patient enough. It's fun to track them until they go into Earth's shadow. The absolute best you can see is the biggest and baddest, the International Space Station. Here is the link to the NASA ISS tracking page https://spotthestation.nasa.gov.

The Moon




Naturally the easiest thing to see in the night sky. If it's out at all anyone can see it. Even through the worst light pollution. It is a great mysterious orb and always watching over us at night. It's also a nice treat to see out during the day. Something about its cloudy appearance on a nice summer day makes me feel good. Cultures throughout time have assigned mystical meaning. I don't really subscribe to those ideas but they can be fun to read. Cultures throughout the world have even as a whole traditionally seen different images. A lot of us in the USA know "the man on the moon" and even the howling face of a wolf. In a lot of Asian countries they see it as a rabbit. They are probably just craters and valleys and we as humans can't help but see images in them. If you have a pair of binoculars check out its lunar glory. It can make a big difference. Full moons look great for a nice whole picture but a crescent moon will exaggerate the craters and give them a deeper 3d look.


Meteor Showers


There are a lot of really great meteor showers throughout the year. If you have ever experienced one then you know how inspiring they can be. It's wild that dust and rocks and debris can hit air so hard that it causes massive friction and burns up in the atmosphere. It's like a rave in the sky. In order to see them at full glory you will need a dark open sky. Some are very faint so in a suburb or city you will only see the biggest and brightest. Those are awesome but my preference is to see a load of meteors one after another. The other important thing to know is when they occur. Follow this link to our education page for a meteor shower calendar at the top of the page.