Stargazing For Dummies
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Reach for the stars

Stargazing is the practice of observing the night sky and its contents - from constellations through to planets and galaxies. Stars and other night sky objects can be seen with the naked eye, or seen in greater numbers and in more detail with binoculars or a telescope.

Stargazing For Dummies offers you the chance to explore the night sky, providing a detailed guide to the main constellations and also offering advice on viewing other night sky objects such as planets and nebulae. It's a great introduction to a fun new hobby, and even provides a fun way to get the kids outside while doing something educational!

  • Gives you an introduction to looking at the sky with binoculars or a telescope
  • Offers advice on photographing the night sky
  • Without needing to get your head around mind-bending theories, you can take part in some practical physics

If you're looking for easy-to-follow guidance on getting to know the night sky, Stargazing For Dummies has you covered.


Steve Owens is a freelance science writer and presenter with a passion for astronomy. He has been the recipient of the 'Campaign for Dark Skies' Award for Dark Sky Preservation, and he was nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for public science engagement.


Introduction 1

Part I: What's Up? Getting Familiar with the Night Sky 7

Chapter 1: The Changing Sky 9

Chapter 2: Look Up! Your First Stargazing Trip 23

Chapter 3: Binocular Astronomy 39

Chapter 4: Your First Telescope 57

Chapter 5: Taking It Further: Astrophotography 81

Part II: Joining the Dots: Learning Your Way Around the Night Sky 91

Chapter 6: The Fixed Stars 93

Chapter 7: The Wanderers 105

Chapter 8: The Constellations 131

Chapter 9: Mapping the Skies 149

Part III: Star Hopping 165

Chapter 10: Northern Polar Constellations 167

Chapter 11: Stars of December, January and February 183

Chapter 12: Stars of March, April and May 211

Chapter 13: Stars of June, July and August 241

Chapter 14: Stars of September, October and November 271

Chapter 15: Southern Polar Constellations 293

Part IV: The Part of Tens 309

Chapter 16: Ten Targets for New Stargazers 311

Chapter 17: Ten Things to Look for under a Dark Sky 315

Index 321