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For stargazers lacking both a telescope and binoculars, you may be able to get decent results by using the viewfinder of a home video camera or still camera depending on the make and model. Some cameras have lens systems perfect for beginner stargazing.
If you use a video camera for night stargazing, be sure to turn off the auto focus. Focus your camera manually and you'll get sharper images through the lens, and you won't have to deal with the camera constantly adjusting and re-adjusting. This can happen when stars twinkle or when they display strobe-like effects due to atmospheric turbulence or other conditions.
You probably won't want to stargaze over the long term with a video camera or still camera, but while you're saving up for a better set of optics, this low-budget route is a great way to get some experience in star viewing after buying a star.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|