Another hobby that I picked up during the lockdown was stargazing. When I was young, my parents took me to the Hong Kong Space Museum and bought me a book on the planets (which I still have!) That piqued my interest, and I later joined the astronomy club in junior high. On an overnight trip to a camp far away from the Hong Kong city center, I saw the Orion nebula with small binoculars for the first time. Yet, with busy schoolwork and persistently light-polluted sky wherever I lived, I put astronomy away until the lockdown. Astrobackyard’s Youtube videos and was really intrigued by the use of Light Pollution filters to do amazing astrophotography.
My first foray into astrophotography was with a RedCat51 and a Skywatcher Star Adventurer on the Deep-sky objects in the constellation of Cygnus. While waiting for the hours collecting subs, I was scanning the sky with binoculars and learning the names and constellations until I realized it was more fun to observe than stressing over doing astrophotography. Since then, I have put away the AP equipment and focused more on visual observation and EAA. I still remember the awe I felt seeing the Andromeda Galaxy for the first time and realizing my eyes were capturing photons that had traveled 2.6 million years. Currently, I am lending my equipment to students, doing small outreach on campus, and trying to share with others that awe I felt when looking at the starry night.
References I use:
- Nightwatch by Terence Dickinson
- Binocular Astronomy by Crossen & Tirion
- Binocular Highlights by Gary Seronik
- Touring the Universe through Binoculars by Philip Harrington
- Burnham’s Celestial Handbook (Vol 1-3) by Robert Burnham Jr.
- The Stars by H.A. Rey
- Deep-Sky Wonders by Sue French
- Celestial Sampler: 60 Small-Scope Tours for Starlit Nights by Sue French