You’re at home, time on your hands, want to start something new, but not sure what it might be…

You may have even been thinking about getting into astronomy as a hobby but haven’t had the time to start…

Or it might be that you just need some inspiration to keep your astronomy hobby alive and sparkling. Times are difficult and we can’t get out under the night sky as easily as we have done before.

If you live in Perth or Western Australia, an astronomy hobby is perfect because, quite frankly, WA is one of the best places on Earth for it.

There might be a number of reasons you haven’t taken the next step to start…

Looking at the stars from inside

1. It Seems Expensive

Yes, telescopes can be expensive but you don’t actually need a telescope to have an astronomy hobby! All you need is a night sky with some stars in it and you can get started right away.

Naked eye stargazing is a great way to start an astronomy hobby. It’s as cheap as chips! In fact, you don’t need anything at all except for your curiosity. Even in the city of Perth where a lot of artificial light pollution blocks out the view of many stars, there are still some to be seen.

2. It Looks Hard and Confusing

There are lots of telescopes out there, all sorts of different types and they can be quite technical. It’s very easy to go out and buy a telescope and then have enormous trouble finding objects in the night sky or focusing on something. Before you start thinking about buying a telescope, it’s easiest to try some naked eye stargazing.

The science of astronomy, too, can be a bit daunting. The jargon and terminology might be all new to you. It will sound quite foreign and confusing. The great thing is that there is a lot you will already be quite familiar with just by having seen news articles or remembering school lessons about the planets and our Solar System.

The beauty about an astronomy hobby is that we only know about 5% of what’s out there in our Universe! So, when you learn about astronomy, you’re not alone. You’re learning alongside many others right around the world.

3. I Might Fail

An astronomy hobby, whether you’re in Perth or country WA, is a gradual process. There is a lot to know and find out but you don’t have to know it all at once. In fact, it’s best to take your time and let things sink in one bit at a time.

First learn a couple of stars that are up in the night sky, then discover a bit about telescopes, later on learn some bits and pieces of astronomy science. Before you know it, you’ll be gaining a whole knowledge about astronomy and you’ll be able to impress friends and family!

4. My Friends and Family Aren't into Astronomy

It is harder to start a hobby when friends and family aren’t into the same things as you are. That’s where clubs and groups (whether they are face-to-face or online) are perfect places where like-minded people can enjoy their interests with others.

Astronomy does have a broad appeal and what you’ll find is that when you’re able to tell family and friends an interesting fact, like "why the date for Easter changes every year", you’ll have them spellbound!

What are the Benefits of an Astronomy Hobby?

1. Food for the Mind

Astronomy will get your mind ticking over and asking lots of questions! The minute you look up into the night sky, you’ll be asking things like, “What’s that bright star I can see?”, “How many moons does Jupiter have?” and “How big is the Milky Way Galaxy?”

About 95% of what’s up there is unknown, so it feels like you’re an explorer, ready to discover new things at every turn!

In fact, did you know that a lot of amateur astronomers have discovered new things that have contributed to science? Just like Thiam-Guan Tan who helped discover an exo-planet 40 light years from Earth. All from his backyard in Perth!

2. Inspiration for the Soul

Being under the night sky is calming, peaceful and wondrous. When you mix these three feelings together there’s an amazing effect on your soul.

When you look at the night sky, you can really feel your place in the world. Our precious Earth is one of eight planets (yes, poor Pluto is no longer classified as a planet!) that belong to our Solar System. Our Solar System's star (the Sun) is one of 100's of billions of stars in our home galaxy, the Milky Way. Our Milky Way Galaxy is one of 100's of billions of galaxies in the Universe.

Hopefully that doesn’t make you feel too small! Instead, we should feel very fortunate to be living on a wonderful planet that orbits a life-giving star.

Earth
Image Credit: NASA

3. Share Your Passion

The BEST thing about an astronomy hobby is that there are lots of others who share the joy of this wonderful science. Just wait until you start having stargazing nights where you can talk about the stars, planets and if there’s other life out there!?

The stars are a magnet for people of all ages. There’s something special about discovering what’s up in the night sky.

At Stargazers Club WA, all beginners are welcome. There’s nothing more we love than to help people in Perth and WA get started in what we think is the best hobby to have.

Even though social distancing has paused our club events and activities at the moment, we have a new and totally free online way to get you inspired about an astronomy hobby and stargazing in Perth or country WA from your own backyard (or front yard).

Every fortnight, we go “Backyard Stargazing with Galaxy Girl” (that’s me!) on Facebook Live. I’m pointing out some great things to see with the naked eye and helping you keep inspired with or start an astronomy hobby. See you under the stars!

astronomy lovers unite!

“Backyard Stargazing with Galaxy Girl” happens every fortnight. Find something amazing to look at in the night sky, ask questions, discover a new tool and tips for your astronomical journey!

We look forward to welcoming you to our friendly community of Stargazers & Astronomy Lovers where we thrive on making learning about the galaxy easy & fun!

Carol Redford - Founder Stargazers Club WA

Carol

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