As years go by, every hobby develops one or two books that are considered the must have addition to a hobbbyist’s library and for backyard astronomers NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe is that book. Used by thousands of people all over the world, this book has been a guidebook into the heavens and a primer on the fascinating subject of astronomy.
Many people entering the hobby think that they need to have a big, expensive telescope to enjoy stargazing. While a large telescope opens up your viewing options, the best telescope is the one that you will actually use and what could be easier to use (or transport) than a pair of binoculars?
Many binoculars reviewed on this site have power comparable to an actual telescope, have a wider field of view than a telescope, and are much easier to carry in and out of the house. A good set of binoculars in combination with NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe will keep you entertained and informed for many nights to come.The hardest thing to do for newcomers is to find the stars they know and to find new stars or objects they have
heard about. NightWatch takes care of all that by providing star charts and easy to use methods for getting your binoculars pointed in the right direction. There are dozens of beautiful and interesting objects to be seen in the sky with your binoculars and NightWatch will help make finding them a lot easier.
Not only does NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe show you how to find things in the sky, it helps you understand them as well. You’ll learn interesting facts and how to pronounce the names of difficult objects. You’ll learn why the harvest moon is so bright and how to choose your next telescope or binoculars.
For a new amateur astronomer who just got their beginner telescope, NightWatch is a must have guide to the skies.
Sometimes when we review a product, even if we love it, we try to go out and find an opposing opinion to give a sense of balance to our readers. However the worst thing we could find someone saying about this book is that it is a little simple if you are already an expert astronomer.
From the moment we are born, astronomy gifts, glow in the dark stars and star themed lullabies are thrust upon us. ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ is sung or played repeatedly to all babies and every piece of equipment and clothing aimed at small children has motifs of stars and moons. This is no wonder, as the heavens have inspired and fired imaginations throughout mankind’s history. Astronomy gifts, including glow in the dark stars are some of the most popular presents for young and old alike.
Every child loves getting astronomy gifts, as outer space holds no limits for their imagination. Hours of fun can be had, pretending to be an astronaut and exploring new planets and galaxies. Even as adults, we still stop and stare in wonder, when we are lucky enough to view a star-filled sky at night. It is such a wondrous and beautiful sight! Studying the stars can be a lifelong hobby. My father used to spend many evenings pointing out the different constellations to me, and this habit encouraged me to purchase my first telescope as a teenager.
Buying the right astronomy gift is a problem as with the air pollution that we all suffer from in large cities, visibility is poor, so viewing the stars with the naked eye is virtually impossible. Even with my telescope, I struggle to view even the closest stars. I found this to be extremely frustrating, as I wanted to pass the gift of astronomy knowledge onto my children.
Apart from moving away from the city, the only way to view the stars every night, is to find some way of bringing the stars into your home. It is possible to find specialized interior designers or artists that can paint glow in the dark stars directly onto your ceiling.
This is extremely beautiful but also very expensive! Another alternative is to purchase glow in the dark plastic stars. These can be bought easily online, but don’t give a realistic impression of the night sky and children can learn nothing about constellations, planets
The most beautiful and educational astronomy gift is to purchase a ‘Glow in the dark ceiling poster’. These are marvellous as they glow all night long, showing the constellation of your choice, and can be placed directly above your bed, so the illusion of sleeping under the stars is complete.
Glow in the dark ceiling posters are very affordable, and really helped my youngest child with his fear of the dark. His glow-in-the-dark poster soothes him every night and he even has Winnie the Pooh’s wishing star (Northern Star) to comfort him!
These ceiling posters are also available with shooting stars, angels and spaceships. They come in various sizes and will last for years! Absolutely perfect astronomy gifts for everyone in your family. You and your child can spend many a happy hour stargazing every night, from the comfort of your own bed…
Unicoi State Park located in Helen Ga. hosts Astronomy nights which offers aspiring astronomers to receive a visual and hands on guide to astronomy. The Astronomy nights are hosted by the Atlanta Astronomy Club, and is perfect for all ages.
This makes a perfect outing for families even with smaller children. The Astronomy night is held at the Unicoi State Park camping area visitors center. Being held at the visitors center, allows participants to enjoy amenities such as an excellent view of the scenic Smith Lake, grills for coking out, and also campfire areas perfect to create a family night that will be cherished for years to come.
The Astronomy nights begin with a slide-show presentation educating participants about the basics of astronomy, and is then followed up by hands on experience viewing with high quality gear, into a gorgeous star field mountain sky.
Participants can ask questions, and get great tips on entering the exciting field of Astronomy as a hobbyist astronomer or as a career. The folks with the Atlanta Astronomy Club are all pros, and very proficient at Astronomy from all levels.
Participants can enjoy cooking out, dining at one of the many excellent restaurants located in Helen Ga., or enjoy an excellent budget friendly all you can eat country-style buffet in the Unicoi Lodge. The buffet offers fresh fried mountain rainbow trout nightly.
Participants are also allowed to bring their own telescopes. Any flashlights should have Red bulbs so as not to distract others from the night viewing experience. Participants are also advised to bring lawn chairs for seating.
Ever wondered how to use your digital camera to take great pictures through a telescope? What are the best budget friendly telescopes for amateurs?
What basic equipment and knowledge do I need to be a serious amateur Astronomer? It’s questions such as this that the hosting members with the Atlanta Astronomy Club can help with.
The setting for this attraction cannot be beat. The atmosphere is in a unique and scenic mountain park campground area with scenic mountain views. Participants can also enjoy renting either a camp site for tent camping, staying in one of the Unicoi mountain lodges, or spring for a relatively budget friendly Unicoi cabin. The campground area also offers RV sites.
So if you and your family are looking to enjoy a memorable, and highly informative and educational experience, or if you just have an interest in Astronomy and want to learn the basics, this is an excellent hands on attraction. The best part of it all, is that it’s free.
Interested participants can get more information, as well as the dates and times that this event is being held throughout the year by contacting the Helen Ga. Visitors bureau at 1-800-573-9659
The address for this attraction is: Unicoi State Park, 1788 Highway 356, Helen Ga.
You may be looking for the perfect gift for your little astronomer or maybe you are looking for a great toy to get someone interested in astronomy and space. Perhaps you are homeschooling and looking for a great way to study astronomy and space. Are you a teacher looking for that great start to a lesson or a way to get your students enthused about a new space exploration topic?
There are a lot of items, toys and potential gifts on the market that could do all of the things listed above. How do you know which are scientifically accurate, will last more than a few days and provide hours of interest? The best way is to do research but this can be time-consuming.
Another option is to start with a reputable manufacturer such as Uncle Milton (famous for their Moon In My Room) and read a few reviews about their products. This will give you a good idea of whether the product is good value for money or not and does exactly what it says on the box.
Uncle Milton’s Star Theater Pro allows you to bring the night sky indoors – useful if you live in an area of high light pollution which means you very often cannot see the stars even if you went out to look! Whereas, the Night Sky Navigator allows you to select the date and then use the resulting image to identify the stars above you on a clear night.
The Star Theater Pro is a portable projector that enables you with the use of discs to project the night sky directly onto your ceiling or wall turning your home into your very own planetarium. You can enjoy an awesome starry night scene (rotating field of 10,000 stars) from the comfort of your own home/bed. There is even a soundtrack included which can be played in conjunction with the 30 or 60 minute auto shut off feature to allow you to drift gently off to sleep – great for kids who are scared of the dark.
If you actually want to get outside and do some real star-gazing though then you need a map, star chart or other navigation aid such as Uncle Milton’s Night Sky Navigator. With this navigation tool it couldn’t be easier to explore the night sky and accurately locate all those stars and constellations.
Set the date and time of day on the unit and you will get an accurate reference image all year-round (be aware that this unit is for the northern hemisphere only). Once you have located the celestial object you want to study you can turn on the narration feature and start learning.
So all you have to decide is whether you want to study your stars and constellation indoors or outdoors!