Star Naming Guide: Stargazing Basics

Stargazing Without a Telescope

Stargazing without a telescope or binoculars is a great way to get to know the heavens before looking at them more deeply with the aid of a lens. There are plenty of sights to explore with the naked eye.

The first thing you’ll probably notice are the brightest objects in the sky, which aren’t necessarily stars. Some planets look like stars. Venus, for example, is one of the brightest lights in the sky when it’s visible. It’s easily viewed without a lens.

Another great place to begin is with familiar constellations. If you find the Big Dipper, you can use it as a naked-eye astronomy landmark to find other constellations such as Leo, which is next to the Big Dipper. And if you find Leo, you can spot Virgo, which adjoins Leo.

Of course, it helps to use an astronomy star chart when finding these constellations—discovering the patterns may be tricky at first, but with a little help, you’ll eventually be able to easily identify them.

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