Astronomy for Beginners

New to astronomy? Not sure how to get started in stargazing or which telescope to buy?

Here’s where you’ll find observing guides, how-to articles and great astronomy hints and tips. Don’t forget to check out our comprehensive astronomy dictionary.

Astronomy Dictionary
Star diagonal

A mirror on some refracting telescopes that allows more comfortable viewing than you get by looking along the telescope tube. The star diagonal bends the light by 90 degrees.


A very luminous, large and massive object that forms when a star with a mass more than 10 times that of the Sun has burned all of the hydrogen in its core. Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion, which is red in colour, is one such supergiant.

Active galactic nucleus

The centre of a galaxy, which emits large amounts of energy as electromagnetic radiation. Such objects are thought to be powered by matter falling on to a supermassive black hole.

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here