What’s Out Tonight?

A general ASTRONOMY site to get you started exploring the night sky

Astro Course Handouts & PowerPoints+

This page contains PDFs of the handouts and PowerPoints that I use for my beginning non-credit Astro Course that I conduct at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona and elsewhere. These materials are provided for attendees and anyone else who wants to learn or create their own course. Clubs or others may use these materials free of charge for astronomy outreach/education.

My course is titled 
Telescopes & Exploring the Night Sky
It is usually offered in the Spring and Fall.
Six, 2-hour evening sessions that meet once a week. 
Sessions are 1 hour lecture and 1 hour observing.
I have two additional lectures for cloudy nights, one on making 
a reflector telescope and the other on astrophotography.

PDFs of PowerPoint Lectures
Email me for actual PP files.

1st Session
• 10-minute Tour of the Universe
• Stargazing Terms & Concepts
2nd Session
• Telescopes
3rd  Session
• Mounts and Tripods
4th Session
• All about Eyepieces
5th Session
• Solar System Observing
6th Session
• Deep Sky Objects

First Slides of my 7 PowerPoint Presentations

Handouts that I provide to Support Lectures (PDFs)

The Night Sky
Telescope Mounts
Observing the Sun, Moon and Planets
Deep Sky Objects

Telescope Stores, Telescope Manufacturers, 
Astro Magazines, Observatories, plus

Links to Telescope Stores in Tucson, Arizona

5757 N Oracle Rd, Suite 103, Tucson, AZ Phone: (520) 292-5010 
Comments: This is a GREAT telescope store that has been in operation for a good 25 years or more. They are the inventors/manufacturer of highly sought after astrophotography equipment. But, they also have great customer service for beginners to advanced amateurs. I have known Dean, the owner, for a long time—he and his staff are the best! 

Stellar Vision Astronomy & Science Shop  
3721 E. 37th St, Tucson, AZ 
Phone: (520) 571-0877 
Comments: Frank, who owns the store has been around for at least 30 years. He has a huge inventory of older scopes on display that is a great trip down memory lane. Frank specializes in the installation of observatory domes for amateurs. The store may be somewhat difficult to find the first time because it is located in an industrial area. 

What about Telescope Stores in Phoenix, Arizona?
Ironically, even though Phoenix is an extremely large city and in a greater area of good clear skies, its telescope stores have been few, and never last long. Currently, as of early 2024, there are no dedicated telescope stores in Phoenix that I know of.

Amateur Astronomy/Telescope Monthly Magazines 

There are two magazines available to amateur astronomers and I only recommend “Astronomy”  magazine for beginners. Sky & Telescope was the magazine of choice for years but they are struggling to survive as a business. And, many of the writers from Sky & Telescope have migrated to Astronomy magazine. Additionally, Astronomy magazine writes its articles geared more towards the beginner. Finally, both magazine’s websites have a wealth of free astronomical information including current events happening in the sky.

Cloudy Nights << Link
is the most popular website for amateur astronomy blogs, info and to buy/sell telescope/astro equipment. It is free to join.

Best FREE Planetarium program
Stellarium is a FREE planetarium program available for desktop/laptop Windows and Mac. It is full featured and has a multitude of options. It will take a little time to get acquainted but the investment is worthwhile if astronomy is an interest of yours. There are some aspects of the program that could work better but if you want to know what is happening in the sky for any date or time or place, this is the program.

Links to other Telescopes Stores 
in US & Canada

Besides the two telescope stores in Tucson, the following stores have been in business a long time.
Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes Store & online, 
Woodland Hills, California  
Land Sea & Sky 
Store & online, Houston, Texas 
Orion Telescopes  Online only 
High Point Scientific 
Store & online, Montague, New Jersey 
Company Seven Astro Optics
Store. Montpelier, Maryland 
La Maison de l’Astronomie 
Store & online, Montreal, Quebec, Canada 
All-Star Telescope 
Store & online, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Links to Major Telescope Manufacturer’s Websites 
Usually, you will purchase their products from the stores listed above.

Tele Vue 
Vixen, A Japanese telescope company—good quality 
Takahashi, A Japanese telescope company—excellent quality 
Explore Scientific

Tours of Professional Observatories
Night Observing Programs
Telescope Mirror Lab

Almost all require reservations. 
Some not open year long.
Mirror Lab
Make giant telescope mirrors. Under the football stadium of the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. 
Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter 
On top of the big mountain immediately next to Tucson. TOURS & NIGHT PROGRAMS 

Mt. Graham 
Large observatory near Safford, AZ

Whipple Observatory 
Large observatory near Green Valley, AZ, about an hour from Tucson. TOURS
Kitt Peak 
Professional Observatories.
About 45 minutes from Tucson. 

Lowell Observatory 
Located in Flagstaff, AZ
UA Planetarium 
Located on the campus of the 
University of Arizona in Tucson.