We're a naturally curious species. We like knowing as much as we can about everything about us. That includes the universe in which we reside.
Astronomy is the study of that universe we can observe. Some consider astronomy the oldest of the natural sciences, starting with the measurement of time.
One of the really cool things about astronomy is that there is plenty of room for front-line work carried out by citizen scientists (like me). There is so much universe out there. From ground-based observations to data analysis from the many probes and other missions we send out there, there's plenty of work for the amateur astronomer. Comets, asteroids and even red dwarf stars are often discovered by citizen scientists.
But for the casual sky-watcher, there's plenty of fun to be had looking up with the naked eye. You don't need a fancy (expensive!) telescope to stargaze. Binoculars work fine, and there is nothing wrong with Mark-1 Eyeball observation.
The constellation Orion is currently visible in our night sky from most of the planet. At the very least, become familiar with it, for it is a magnificent example of many really lovely things astronomers like to study.
It looks like this:
The bright red star at the top left is Betelgeuse, the bright blue star at the bottom right is Rigel. Orion's belt is the three stars in the middle, and his 'sword', hanging from his belt, is actually a nebula. Orion is plastered against an outer arm of the Milky Way galaxy.
I hope you have a chance to observe it before it passes out of our night sky by May. We'll cover more regarding Orion when O drifts around.
Which constellation is your favourite?
Her Grace has always loved astronomy and hopes you do too.