Getting Started

Getting Started in Amateur Astronomy

The Quick STARt Program

The SJAA has a great number of experienced people ready to guide you. But there is a clear place to begin.  Dave Ittner runs the club’s Quick STARt Program for beginners. No matter your goals, the Quick STARt program addresses basics that will be applicable and invaluable to:

  • Armchair astronomers – if you like to read about the hobby.
  • Visual observers – learn the ins-and-outs of navigating the sky with a telescope and other tools.
  • Imagers – those who think they want to start into “astro-photography”.

The Quick STARt program quickly familiarizes you with basic language, tools and concepts that provide a great start, and avoids frustration!

The value of the Quick STARt program cannot be stressed enough. With it as your foundation, you can quickly advance and enjoy your hobby.

You must be an SJAA member (here’s where to join) and reserve a spot, as space and equipment are limited. Write Dave for more information.

Here are some other areas you may find interesting with contact e-mail buttons. But please, attend the Quick STARt, a bit of knowledge will make everything much more enjoyable!

Contact E-mail Links
Amateur Telescope Making
The Telescope Makers Workshop at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland offers free classes from local experts.
Imaging/Astrophotography Bruce Braunstein SJAA has a new Imaging Special Interest Group (SIG) for beginners. Dates will be posted on our home page, so check there, or write Harsh.
Equipment Junky?
If you enjoy tinkering and fixing things, maybe you want to help with the SJAA’s “Fix-It” program, headed by Ed Wong. It meets every first Sunday of the month from 2-4 PM in the meeting hall at Houge Park. Let Ed know you’re interested.
Solar Astronomy
The SJAA has a wonderful 100mm Lunt H-Alpha telescope, and welcomes participation by other, newcomers or experienced with their own equipment. Michael can fill you in on the “do’s and don’t” of observing our local star.
Beginning Astronomy Class
This program meets monthly in the hall at Houge Park, and teaches what is currently happening in the sky (visible planets, meteor showers, eclipses, etc.), covers a few constellations and a bit of star mythology, then goes outside if conditions permit, to see the constellations. This program is “kid friendly” but good for grown-ups too.
Deep Sky Observing
Have your questions about observing galaxies, star clusters and different types of nebulae answered.