The Hobby

Amateur Astronomy
Detailed Wikipedia article provides a good introduction to the fascinating hobby of backyard astronomy.

Backyard Astronomer’s Guide
Great general amateur astronomy book for beginners. Practical info on getting started, equipment recommendations, best sky sites, more. The guide gets top reviews on amazon.

Sky & Telescope
Locus of general info on skywatching, space science, and amateur astronomy. News and info on observing, equipment reviews, DIY articles, local clubs, etc.

Amateur Astronomy Magazine
Magazine for serious astrophiles and advanced astronomy hobbyists. Once you’re hooked as a sky watcher, this is the site for you.
Fascinating site devoted to all things space. News, tech, telescope and gear reviews, search for ETLife, skywatching, much more.

Best Sources of Astronomical Images
Nearly two dozen links to top image sites and astronomical photo galleries on the web. Curated by well-known astronomer and educator, Andrew Fraknoi.

ISDA Dark Sky Finder
Dark sky finder, searchable by zip code. Click here for another U.S. dark sky finder, and here for a fantastic world-wide light pollution map (stats for every location on Earth).

For Beginners

Sky and Telescope
Fantastic resource for all levels of astronomy enthusiasts. Contributions by experts on all aspects of the science and hobby of astronomy.

Getting Started in Backyard Astronomy
Short introductory guide to those with an interest in exploring or beginning the hobby, with a range of excellent suggestions of how best to get started.

Telescope Buying Guide
Accessible, comprehensive Sky and Telescope guide on purchasing a telescope. Don't get the wrong kind, or spend too much money – or too little. Another guide

Buying a First Telescope
Great beginner's buying guide from premier dealer Sky Point Scientific (a must-read for beginners looking to invest in a first telescope).

NYT Recommendations for a First Telescope
Reliable recommendations are indispensable. Four well-considered recommendations for beginner's scopes by the editors of the New York Times. Other opinions

AWB OneSky 130mm Reflector
Very small, light, highly portable grab-and-go reflector. Awesome starter option. A crazy deal at just $250! 130mm f/5. Helpful review here.

6-inch Sky Watcher Heritage150P
Another superb grab-and-go reflector and excellent choice for a first telescope. Larger 150mm f/5. At High Point Scientific here (just $310). Go-to option on amazon here.


Astronomers Without Borders
“We all share the same sky.” AWB strives to unite peoples of the world through a shared passion for astronomy and observation of the wonders of the universe.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific
The oldest national astronomical society in the U.S. Founded in 1889, now one of the largest astronomical education organizations in the world.

Sidewalk Astronomers
SF group founded by John Dobson (who gave me private telescope making lessons at home as a boy in the 1960s). Star parties, giant scopes, telescope making, more.

Dark Sky International
Organization devoted to preserving dark skies, reducing light pollution, and keeping visible on Earth the majestic tableau of the wonderful nighttime universe.

Your tax dollars at work! Check out general space news, missions (A-Z), awesome photo galleries, downloads, space exploration history, internships, more.


How to Choose Binoculars for Astronomy and Skywatching
A great way to begin enjoying the hobby by purchasing a pair of good binoculars;. This useful guide investigates pros and cons and helps you invest in the right pair.

Starter Binoculars
Can you actually get a good pair of astro-binoculars for $35? Yes, indeed you can! Celestron Cometron 7x50 binoculars have sold for under $25 during the holidays.

Meade AdventureScope 80mm Refractor
Same optical tube as the Orion ST80. Great entry-level bargain scope: under $90! Excellent for visual astronomy. Will also serve budding astrophotographers well.

Apertura AD8 8-Inch Reflector with Accessories
Best kit for serious beginners. Powerful/portable f/5.9 200mm Dobsonian with 2-inch dual speed focuser, 1.25 and 2-inch eyepieces, laser collimator, more: $450! Push-to kit here.

The High Point Scientific Eyepiece Guide
Overview of the entire puzzling eyepiece question by experts at High Point Scientific. Designs? Makers? Focal length? FOV? Read this before investing serious $$.


Highpoint Scientific
One of the top online astro and optical products dealers. Detailed descriptions, specs, and reviews make it easy to do pre-sales research.

Agena Astroproducts
Another well-known and respected dealer. Agena sells astronomy-related products only. Detailed info. Excellent customer product reviews.

Telescopes Plus
Astro-only dealer, with a large selection of merchandise. Make a visit here to peruse daily deals and compare specs and prices. (Woodland Hills)
Smaller dealer of high-end astro equipment and photographic gear. Clearance items are well worth checking out. Good for comparison shopping.

B&H Photo Video – Telescopes
Reputable online dealer of astro, photo, video, and audio gear. Good prices, good service. B&H also has a small used astro gear department.

Astronomy Classifieds and Used Sales

Cloudy Nights Classifieds
First stop when looking for good used gear. Serious amateurs shop here for good deals on all things astro. Very popular site for hobbyists.

Another large astronomy classifieds site utilized by experts to buy and sell used astro gear. Like Cloudy Nights, requires registration.

High Point Scientific: Used Equipment
Certified pre-owned astro and other optical equipment. Items are professional inspected, adjusted, graded, and guaranteed.

Optcorp Used Telescope and Astronomy Equipment
Used items are often better deals. Certified and warrantied used items here are tested by technicians for full functionality. Financing available.


Cloudy Nights
Top online amateur astronomy community. Experts and novices interact, sharing secrets, tips, news, recommendations, reviews, equipment for sale.

Stargazers Lounge
Another highly popular forum for amateur astronomers. Useful resources and links, astro-events calendar, blogs, clubs, more.

Astronomy Forum
Yet another astro-geek hangout. A plethora of posts on all manner of topics related to the hobby of amateur astronomy.


Best Free Stargazing Apps
Never been easier to study the stars! Point a phone skyward, get info on: constellations, planets, satellites. Other app listed here, here, and here.

Remarkable app. Simply unparalleled. If you're serious about the hobby you already have Stellarium. It's a miracle this app is free.


Field of View Calculator / Telescope Simulator
Virtually combine telescope, eyepiece, barlow, camera to see how astro targets will look. Get FOV, image data. Binos too. Try before you buy!