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This Month’s Hobby: Make Your Own Telescope!

Team StoryWeavers|November 8, 2019|

Based on super popular demand from all you young space enthusiasts, this month’s hobby is Amateur Astronomy! People all over the world have been studying the sky for centuries. While everyone knows a little about astronomy, there’s a popular misconception associated with it – astronomy is difficult and complicated.

This is not true at all! You can take up amateur astronomy right from your terrace!

And guess what? Amateur astronomers can even help space institutes like NASA find new planets and stars!

Step 1: Getting the time and place right

Find a spot where you can see a large patch of the sky and check the sky at different times of the night to see when you can see the stars and celestial bodies clearly.

Step 2: Noticing Patterns

Notice if you can spot any patterns of shiny objects in the sky, and familiarise yourself with these patterns. See if the positions of these patterns change over time and make a note.

Step 3: A Map for the stars!

Find a star map/chart for your location. There are various websites where you can get this information easily. You will need to enter your city, time (when you will be viewing the sky) and the date. Once you get a map of the stars, try spotting the patterns you’ve noticed in the sky on the map! This will help you identify the planets, stars, and constellations.

To get started right away, here is a list of celestial objects that can be seen all around the world with the naked eye:

  • Venus: This bright planet can be found near the sun during sunset or sunrise.
  • Big Dipper: A famous constellation that is made of up seven stars and looks like a cup with a long handle.
  • North Star: This star is in the direction of the geographic North Pole. It is near the Big Dipper and is the brightest start in the night sky.
  • Orion The Hunter: Another famous constellation made up of 7 stars, the easiest way to spot Orion is to look for 3 stars in an almost straight line that form Orion’s “belt”.
  • Moon: The size and shape of the moon change every day and tracking the phases of the moon are basics in astronomy!

Once you’re familiar with the celestial bodies in the sky, to help you observe them better, you can make your own telescope! Here’s how:

Materials Needed

  1. Thick cardboard
  2. Black chart paper
  3. Two lenses from magnifying glasses (one lens should be bigger than the other)
  4. Glue
  5. Black colour sticky tape

Instructions

  1. Stick black chart paper on both sides of a sheet of cardboard.
  2. Make a long cylinder-shaped tube by rolling the cardboard and sticking its edges. The diameter of the tube must be the same as the diameter of the bigger magnifying lens. At the end of this stage, you should have a hollow tube that is black on the inside and outside with two open ends on either side of the tube.
  3. Take the bigger magnifying lens and tape it to one end of the tube. While taping, make sure you only cover the corners of the lens. At the end of this stage, you should have a black tube with a magnifying lens on one side and the other side should be open.
  4. Repeat the steps by making a similar tube for the smaller magnifying glass. PLEASE NOTE: The smaller tube should be able to slide in and out of the bigger tube smoothly.
  5. Once you are done making the smaller tube, insert the smaller tube’s end that has the smaller magnifying glass into the open end of the bigger tube.
  6. Voila! Your telescope is ready. Look through the telescope from the open end of the smaller tube and slide the smaller tube in or out till the image you are viewing comes into focus.

The sky that we live under, is full of interesting objects. You just need a little curiosity and the spirit to keep learning to understand it’s secrets.

What did you learn about amateur astronomy from this article? Will you take it up as a hobby?

About the Author


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Deepthi Chakravarthy

Deepthi is an ambivert who is on a steady diet of good food, filter coffee, and self-improvement. Being an ardent reader, storytelling has been her first love and she enjoys exploring how to convey stories compellingly. Having studied psychology and experienced the learning and development field, Deepthi is driven to understand human behavior and to know what makes each of us unique. You are most likely to find her tucked into a cozy corner at a local cafe with a Kindle or a book in hand. If you find her there, stop by and say hello, she'd be eager to learn your story too. Until then, you can ping her at storyweavers@byjus.com for anything you may like to share.

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