Anyone interested in the Universe wants to see it for himself or herself. What’s the best way to do that?
You do not need a telescope or binoculars to see the Moon, bright stars and the brightest planets. Some celestial views are even best enjoyed without any optical help. Meteor showers, for example, cover large areas of the skies, larger than any telescope will show you. The Milky Way is gorgeous at any scale and can be very impressive for the naked eye under rural, dark skies.
If you decide to get optical help in the form of binoculars or a telescope, a new world opens up. With a modest instrument you will be able to see the moons around Jupiter and more than 100 craters on the moon. Larger instruments will teleport you to far exotic places. You will be eye-to-eye with starving stars, engulfed in nebulas and stare at clusters of galaxies far away from the Milky Way.
Viewing the universe live through a telescope is a visceral experience and very different than the colourful images in a magazine. It’s darker, bigger and more mysterious. If you are enthralled by colourful images then astrophotography may be interesting for you. Amateur astrophotographers can create images of space with detail and vibrant colour unheard of until recently.
When you go out and observe, you will notice the difference between the sky over the city and the sky in the countryside. In downtown Toronto you may see only a few stars, the Moon and the brightest planets. In the country, you will see thousands of stars and can clearly see the Milky Way. The difference is caused by city light pollution. Many of our members combine the convenience of city observing with the impressive dark skies in the countryside.