The video, Cosmos: A Personal Journey by Carl Sagan, originally filmed in 1980 is one of the best introductions to the world and the universe. It is currently available as a DVD set, and is highly recommended watching for just about anyone. You can find a good review of this astronomy video about the universe and our place within it on the following page: Cosmos – Carl Sagan.
An interesting new global mega-project that will be operational by 2016 or so is the LSST project, or the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Project. Scientists and engineers are planning to build and use a large wide-view telescope to scan and photograph large sections of deep space. Much of this data in the form of “deep color imaging and multi-dimensional data products” will be made available to the public over the internet. This information can then be viewed by the public who would be interested in learning more about or analyzing some of those findings. This sounds like a challenging project that can shed some light on our universe, while allowing the public to collaborate and participate on a grand adventure at the same time.
I was thinking that an interesting idea would be to obtain a collection of some astronomy images from astrophotography of space and the universe obtained with the Hubble telescope and other telescopes. One way to do this that I thought of would be to buy astronomy and space posters, and then post those posters in my room. Below is a slideshow of some beautiful space images from astronomy posters. You can also click on each large image to reach the Amazon page to purchase them:
Besdies buying astronomy photos or space posters, I was thinking another way would be to find images of astronomy pictures and use them as a desktop background or a screensaver, which would loop through the astrophotography images.
I was doing a bit of research because I initially wanted to buy a telescope to look at the stars or planets. Entry-level telescopes seemed to be reasonably priced. However, if I wanted to take pictures to perform astrophotography, it actually started to get really expensive. I was also reading that sometimes, it’s quite difficult to set up your telescope properly. Also, it requires experience to be able to find the stars or planets that you’re looking for. For anyone interested, below is a video on how to set up a telescope:
Since telescopes were so complicated, I decided to look into a pair of binoculars. I actually tried to look through a few binoculars during the daytime at a store, and they seem to be relatively easy to use, as you can use both eyes to view through them, unlike a telescope you where you can only view through it with one eye. The main point when choosing good binoculars for astronomy is that the diameter of the binocular lens divided by the magnification must be 5 or greater. For example, 7x 50 mm or 10x 50 mm binoculars would work well for night time use. The ratio is important because it is important to allow enough light to reach your eyes since stars can be quite dim. Unfortunately, I was not able to find binoculars with that ratio where I could also take pictures for astrophotography, which is what I am interested in perhaps doing.
I also tried just to point my camcorder at a clear night sky, but I could not really find any objects. Perhaps the resolution for a camcorder does not work too well for astronomy.
My plan is to wait a while for now and perhaps they may come out with better telescopes or binoculars in the future. I will just check out pictures online or from books and see what other photographs other people or organizations have taken.