Astronomical Gifts

Buying a Christmas gift for an astronomy enthusiast depends on knowing their skill level and what materials they want.

When looking for presents for people into astronomy, why not buy them an astronomy-themed gift for Christmas this year? Perhaps they are beginning astronomers who want to try their hand at astronomy, or just really enjoy the subject. Perhaps the person is a more advanced astronomer.

For the Beginning Astronomer

People enjoy looking up at the sky. They have enjoyed doing so since the beginning of time. When buying a gift for those wanting to take up astronomy, or even for those who just generally enjoy astronomy, simplicity is the best way to go.

When buying a Christmas gift for a beginning astronomer, the goal is to get them something they want without breaking the bank. Something simple is best to start with, especially one loaded with useful information.

A subscription to an astronomy magazine is a good start. Magazines such as Astronomy or Sky & Telescope are very popular tools for the beginning stargazer; these magazines give a sky-cast of what can be seen throughout the month.

Another great idea is to get a book for beginners like Stargazing Basics: Getting Started in Recreational Astronomy by Paul E. Kinzer. This book shows beginning astronomers what to view using various means of viewing, such as with the naked eye or through a telescope. A star chart device or planisphere is also a great gift choice for those who are serious about observing the sky but are still learning their way around the constellations.

Christmas Gifts for the Advanced Astronomer

Advanced astronomers already have a wide variety of star-gazing guides and materials filling their bookshelves. These astronomers also have a tremendous amount of knowledge about the night sky. So, what would a good Christmas gift be?

A specialized carrying case for their telescope is a great idea. Or, some cool upgraded gadgetry could very well top the list of what they want. There are also a few good books which would fit in very well with an advanced astronomer’s book selection. One such book is by Robert K. Buchheim, The Sky is Your Laboratory: Advanced Astronomy Projects for Amateurs. This book describes various research areas in which both amateur and professional astronomers collaborate, and also includes concise explanations detailing the various projects.

Another great book by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, is Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries. This book is not strictly about astronomical objects but its witty, clear explanations and deep, insightful musings will be interesting to anyone who loves the cosmos.

For the more advanced astronomers, find out what kind of telescope they use and run with that. There are carrying cases, eyepieces, and other items that would make great gifts for any advanced astronomer. Telescope brands includes: Meade, Celestron, Takahashi, Orion, Bushnell, etc

Name a Star after Them

For a quirky Christmas gift for any astronomer, have a star named in their honor. There are astronomical novelty shops and online sites offering star naming kits which, while entirely unofficial, would still bring a smile to anyone’s face. And, who knows – come Christmastime, that one special gift may very well imbue their beloved night sky with an added touch of brilliance.

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