Stargazing Basics

Astronomy can be daunting for beginners — after all there’s a whole universe out there! But stargazing basics don’t have to be hard. Sky & Telescope editors (with more than 100 years of collective experience) are here to help you learn your way around the night sky. Whether you’re looking for your first telescope, trying to learn the constellations, or want to learn to use star charts, you’ve come to the right place. The best way to start exploring the night sky is with the unaided eye. Our star wheels are easy to use and in no time you’ll learn the constellations and names of the stars. And that’s only the beginning!

How to Make a Sundial the Simple Way

Sundials are amazingly simple yet effective devices. They range from sticks planted in the ground to precision-machined marvels costing thousands of dollars. The design shown here can be constructed in minutes from materials lying around your house, but it's surprisingly accurate.

John Grunsfeld

Party with the Stars

Want to gaze at the Milky Way all night or peer into the eyepiece of a 12-foot-tall telescope? Then escape the city lights and head for the nearest “star party.”