When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.
"O telescope, instrument of much knowledge, more precious than any scepter! Is not he who holds thee in his hand made king and lord of the works of God?"—John Kepler.
Will's Guide to Star Gazing - Knowing a few simple things can make a tremendous difference in how much you enjoy an evening of star gazing. I give you tips and techniques on what to look for and how to get the most out of the night sky without a telescope.
Coming: Will's Star Gazing Guide Part 2 - In this installment I go over lots of specific things that you can see in the night sky. For example did you know that there is a beautiful globular star cluster in the constellation of Hercules that is visible with the naked eye?
Will's New Book:
See It with a Small Telescope: 101 Cosmic Wonders Including Planets, Moons, Comets, Galaxies, Nebulae, Star Clusters and More - Available in paperback and kindle on Amazon right here
Will Makes a Guest appearance on the Dr. Sky radio show to talk about his new book on small telescopes. Learn more about the show and listen to it here.
Will's Six tips to getting the most out of a small telescope
Telescopes can make for an awkward first and second experience. It is easy to get lost in the night sky. Consequently a telescope can easily find itself tucked away in a closet collecting dust.
I have six tips that will help you get the most out of your small telescope. Get the telescope out of the closet and get maximum enjoyment from it!!
Make a telescope Part 2: the mount
I show you how to make a mount for a big 8 inch telescope that we previously made in an earlier tutorial. This telescope mount is functional, unique and easy to make. Make a Telescope part 2: the Mount.
The USPS issues a set of unique eclipse stamps. They are thermochromic. You press your finger on a stamp and the moon appear. Fun little stamp. I have more about them here: USPS Eclipse Stamps
Make a Nebula in a bottle
A nebula is a beautiful object in the night sky. And you can have one on your bureau or desk. I show you how to make one with a few around the house items. Make a nebula in a bottle
How to make a small and easy telescope
This is a complete tutorial on how to make a small telescope using lenses. I show you everything you need to know. Make a small refractor telescope
Make a 4" Telescope
This is a tutorial on how to make a Newtonian Reflector Telescope. This is the type of telescope that Sir Isaac Newton Invented! Fun project. 4 inch mirror inside. How to Make a Newtonian Reflector telescope
Make an 8 " Telescope
This is a large telescope. It has some really good light gathering power. I take you through the building of a telescope like this step by step. And I show you the fundamentals of how it is made so you can make any size newtonian reflector telescope. Make an Eight inch telescope
New: A Web visitor (Herb) is restoring three old telescopes; a 2-inch refractor, a 4 1/4 inch reflector and a 6 inch reflector. I have pics and information about how he is doing it here: Restoring Three Old Telescopes
Make an Orrery
An orrery is a mechanical device that shows the movement of celestial objects. We make one that shows the motions of the Sun the Earth and the Moon. And we do it with foam board. Make a Wizard's Orrery
New: Telescope, Astronomy and Space videos available for free on Amazon Prime.
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything
In his bestselling An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth , Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories, his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.
The technology of computers and telescopes has also very much changed over the past decade or so in that you can purchase a telescope with software that has thousands of night sky objects already programmed in so at the touch of a button it will automatically go to the objects.
About the prices and makers of telescopes: You can spend anywhere from $100 Dollars to several thousands. You can in fact spend well over ten thousand dollars on fine astronomical instruments and even build an observatory right in your back yard. I have an essay here on this site that will help you buy the right telescope for your needs and your budget.
There are lots of telescopes to choose from and if you want to know more about telescopes and how to make the purchase that is right for you I have a great tutorial on the subject. There are also lots of great books on astronomy and stargazing for you to learn with. So browse through the links I have in the left hand column and check out some of the wonderful world of astronomy and telescopes.
Just a beginner?
No worries. I have lots of tutorials and interesting information that will take you through the first steps of stargazing and astronomy from how to find constellations and objects in the night sky to how to pick out the telescope that will fit your needs, your future goals, and your budget.
Passionate about Telescopes?
I want to applaud your interest in astronomy and telescopes. Making and using telescopes has been a passion of mine for a very long time. This is an old picture of me with the first telescope I made. I thoroughly enjoy the hobby and I know that you will enjoy it too. It will bring a lot of enrichment to your life as it has done with mine.