Observing Project 3A Training for the Brain

As we said earlier, unless you live in San Diego or the desert southwest, Mother Nature will limit how many days per year you can observe. Here in Delaware, skies are only completely clear about one-third of the time and there are stretches during spring and summer where skies are unobservable for weeks at a time without a break. Skies here are also very heavily light polluted between Philadelphia and Baltimore. Smaller cities in between like Wilmington and Dover make matters even worse. And of course there is that blasted Moon!

For the nights when you can't get outside or the light pollution is just too much, consider some of the industry's better periodicals for getting up-to-date information on everything that is going on that you cannot see. Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines are both published on a monthly basis and are excellent resources for detailing current happenings in the sky and timely articles on new discoveries and reviews of new products. The cover price can be pretty expensive but the subscription rate can save you a lot of money.

Both magazines also offer the publication of many quality books on a wide variety of subjects. From lunar to solar observing, to the planets to the deep sky, there are no limitations on the things you can get good information on observing. Books are also offered on subjects like astronomical computing, telescope making and maintenance and the exploration of the solar system by NASA's intrepid robotic probes.

Spend some time on the Internet too. Appendix C at the back of this book lists on-line resources that were used to fact-check the preparation of this book. They can provide some fascinating bits of information that when the weather clears can be used to enhance your observing experiences further. A little knowledge can go a long way.

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