Astronomy for Beginners

New to astronomy? Not sure how to get started in stargazing or which telescope to buy?

Here’s where you’ll find observing guides, how-to articles and great astronomy hints and tips. Don’t forget to check out our comprehensive astronomy dictionary.

Astronomy Dictionary

A rocky piece of debris in space that is smaller than an asteroid. If a meteoroid enters Earth’s atmosphere it is called a meteor. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but those that don’t and survive an impact on the ground are called meteorites.

Universal time (UT)

A timescale based on the rotation of the Earth on its axis. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was measured from the Greenwich Meridian at midday until 1928, when UT replaced it. Now, UT is measured from midnight at the Greenwich Meridian. The term GMT is still often used though.


A gas of highly charged particles, which is electrically neutral because it contains equal numbers of positively and negatively charged ions. Plasma is often referred to as the fourth state of matter (the other three being solid, liquid and gas).

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