Ken Hough's Website

Beginners Start Here

Many ancient civilisations studied the night sky. No doubt this was partly as a result of curiosity and wonder, but also because of beliefs that the stars held powers over all that happened down here on the Earth. These beliefs formed the basis of ASTROLOGY which has little to do with modern ASTRONOMY.

Typically, ASTROLOGERS try to predict 'horoscopes' and various significant events based on star charts that were drawn up perhaps a 1000 years ago. During the ensuing years, many of the stars have moved significantly in their apparent positions in the night sky, so that even if these predictions could be valid, they might be 1000 years out of date!

ASTRONOMY is a science which is based on careful and ongoing observation, measurement, analysis, prediction, and verification.

Space exploration relies heavily on astronomical data to be able to accurately and reliably predict orbits of celestial bodies and trajectories of space probes, etc.

Given the many professional observatories that now exist on both terra firma and in orbit around the Earth, one might imagine that there is little of interest that can be done via a relatively small amateur telescope. Actually, amateurs continue to observe and report sitings which are then taken up via larger professional telescopes. And there's nothing like 'hands on' experience to learn about how the universe looks and works.

I have tried here to present an introduction to the subject of practical astronomy. I hope that you enjoy it.

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