How to get into Astronomy?
Astronomy is the study of the stars, planets, and other celestial objects that populate the sky. It is an endlessly fascinating field, the oldest of the natural sciences, and one of the few areas of science that amateurs can directly assist the professionals. It is open and accessible for any level of interest and involvement, from folks who just want to learn how to recognize the constellations all the way to near pros with telescopes worth more than their houses.
My goal in this instructable is to provide a set of resources for anyone interested in getting started with this hobby, in the form of a step by step guide for someone who just isn't sure where to begin. When I got started a few years ago, I couldn't find any guides like this that really made sense to me, so in a way this is written to my past self. If I had this guide, I could have avoided a lot of trouble, pitfalls, useless purchases, and dead ends. Furthermore, I've been interested in astronomy since I was little, but I always assumed it was an expensive hobby that I couldn't afford to get into-I was wrong, and I wish someone had been there to tell me!
If you can think of anything I should add to this guide, make sure to leave a comment below-if I use your suggestion, I'll send you a DIY patch. If I think it's a big enough suggestion or oversight on my part, I'll also send you a coupon for a three month pro membership. Also, as I live in the northern hemisphere and only see the northern sky, if you're reading this from a southern hemisphere perspective, I encourage you to write a supplementary southern hemisphere version of this instructable. If it's up to my standards (as determined solely by me and my whims) I will link to it here and send you a coupon for a one year pro membership! I envy you, too, I'll probably never get to see the Magellanic Clouds.