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
Light curve

A light curve is a graph of the brightness of an astronomical object. It’s usually applied to variable stars, novae or stars that are transited by extrasolar planets.

Hydrogen-beta filter

This filters out all light except that of the hydrogen-beta line that has a wavelength of 486.5nm. It is used to observe very faint objects, such as the Horse Head Nebula and California Nebula, which wouldn’t normally be seen without one.

Umbra

The shadow cast by an eclipsing body during a total eclipse; also the central, dark region of a sunspot group.

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