Every year I get several queries from readers on how to get started with astronomy and questions on what kind of telescope to buy. As I have never owned a telescope or even binoculars and have, I am sad to say, looked through the eyepiece of one about five times in my life (not a night person, you see), I'm probably the worst space writer in the universe to offer such advice. Fortunately, I can point all you budding amateur astronomers to Phil Plait, who has much more useful advice to offer. I will echo his advice on attending star parties. I have attended a couple -- in fact, those are the only occasions on which I've looked through a telescope -- and the people who attend such events tend to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and only too happy to share their wisdom with you!