From Casual Stargazer to Amateur Astronomer
The beginning astronomical observer passes through a series of stages. The initial stage is hugely exciting and gives the beginner a real buzz as he discovers some of the faint fuzzy objects, markings on the planets, rings around Saturn and the craters on the Moon. But as the novice observer progresses, he or she wants to know what more there is than looking at faint fuzzy blobs or indistinct planet markings. Many jump to the conclusion - wrongly - that they need to spend lots of money on expensive equipment to progress. 'From Casual Stargazer to Amateur Astronomer' has been written specifically to address this group of budding stargazers. Astronomy is much more than a quick sightseeing tour. Patient observers who can develop their skills will start to appreciate what they are seeing, and will know exactly what to look out for on any particular night. And equally important, they will learn what not to expect to see. 'From Casual Stargazer to Amateur Astronomer' is for those who want to develop observing skills beyond mere sightseeing, and learn some of the techniques used to carry out enjoyable - and scientifically useful - observations. It will also direct readers to make informed choices about what can be seen and when. This book is for anyone keen to develop their skills as an amateur astronomer. Dave Eagle has been interested in astronomy for most of his life. As a boy, he followed with great excitement the landing of the Apollo missions, sparking his enthusiasm even more. This set him well on the way to learning much more about the night as he started to explore it for himself. In his mid-20s Eagle established Bedford Astronomical Society, holding the position of Secretary for many years before becoming Chairman. He also held the post of Handbook Editor for the Federation of Astronomical Societies for three years and is a Fellow of The Royal Astronomical Society. In this capacity he is an enthusiastic ambassador for the subject, frequently giving talks to local astronomical societies, social clubs, schools, youth groups and other interested parties. He also encourages others to get out and observe, producing a monthly sky guide which is free to download from his Web site. Eagle is a trained biological scientist, but after trying his hand at science teaching he eventually moved out of the labs and into the field of IT. He is fortunate enough to have his own small personal observatory in his back yard and considers himself a good all-rounder, enjoying all aspects of astronomy. Despite suffering from a reasonable amount of light pollution in his small town, he is still able to actively observe and image the sky.
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