Longtime stargazers learned the basics of the night sky the hard way--with pencils, star charts and lots of patience with their telescopes, reports the New York Times. Now high-tech equipment and smartphone apps are making the task a lot less daunting for beginners. New point-and-shoot telescopes, for example, require only the push of a button to go into action: Plunk one down in the driveway and the device gets its own bearings, aligning itself with the stars above so it can tell you that the twinkling light in the eyepiece is Betelgeuse…

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About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.