It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot
I have that quote hanging in my office right above my computer. I read it and think about it often. A humbling and character-building experience. This thought scrolls through my head each time I look through the eyepiece of my telescope. As I hunt for the faint fuzzies on a dark night. As I stare into the craters of the moon. As I stare into a beautiful star cluster.
All of these things are reminders of how small we really are. That reminder does not bring despair, but brings excitement at the opportunities and the many questions still left for us to ponder.
When I started in astronomy I didn't know where to begin. So many questions as I began my journey. What are the good books and authors? Who are the professionals I should be following and reading? What websites are great resources? What kind of equipment do I need, and where can I get it?
I attended an astronomy event at our local public library and then got involved in my local astronomy club. It was at this event that I was drawn in even more. The gentleman there were incredible resources and patiently took the time to answer the flurry of my questions.
It was that night that I took my first picture of the moon through a telescope eyepiece with my iPhone. I viewed the Pillars of Creation and immediately had chills. There it was, the picture I had admired from the Hubble Space Telescope, sitting right in front of me.
I knew that I could read all the books, magazines, and websites that I wanted, but nothing would compare to viewing these things for myself. I knew I couldn't jump the gun, though. First things first, I wanted to learn more about the night sky above me. I wanted to be able to locate those objects without the use of a computer or mechanical scope.
I wanted to learn more about the constellations. Their history, their mythological stories, and their movement through the night sky.
Simply put, this site is an extension of my learning process. I want to share my journey, my thoughts, and the resources I have found useful.
I want to provide several things:
- A programmatic resource and utility for other developers. The footer of each page will show how you can access the underlying data and use it for yourself. Information about planets, stars, and galaxies will be readily available.
- A set of utilities to help in your journey. Distance conversions. Telescope and eyepiece calculations for magnification. There are many opportunities to look at these numbers in different ways.
- A resource that you can use to manage your gear (or your ever-growing wish list). I once asked a friend about picking an eyepiece, thinking it was a simple decision. I was then educated on how to pick an eyepiece and the calcuations involved for magnification. I want to provide tools to help in this research.
You can sign in to get started.
My name is Nate Klaiber.
By day I run Device Independent, LLC where I work with clients on building their web-based software applications. I have a great love for the work I do and how it can be used to aid me in my process of learning Astronomy.
By night I try to spend as much time as I can under the night sky with my eyes, binoculars, or telescopes.