Local Clubs are a great place to learn about astronomy. Members are always eager to help with any questions you may have & to share their knowledge. Regardless if you are a beginner or not, I encourage you to seek out the local contacts in your area. Try your local colleges & universaties to see if there are any clubs or public programs in your area. By joining a local club you may have the benefit of borrowing a loaner telescope - a great way to try out a telescope before actually purchasing one! Also these clubs may sponsor a star party (see "star parties" below) in your area.
Delaware Astronomical Society ( Mount Cuba / Wilmington, DE )
Delmarva Stargazers ( Smyrna, DE )
Star parties are gatherings of astronomers at night to view the heavens. These may may be as small as a few friends getting together for an evening to larger multi-night camp-outs where 400 or more people may gather. These parties are such a unique experience for anyone interested in astronomy. Here you will find people with various types & sizes of telescopes. From lounge chairs fitted with binoculars to telescopes over two feet in diameter that you need to climb a ladder to look through!
Summer time is a great time of year to seek out one of these parties. The key to getting the best views of the night sky is finding a "dark sky" site- away from all of the manmade light pollution that washes out the view. Some star parties are better suited for this then others. Usually the darkest sites involve driving long distances to get to, unless you are fortunate to live in or near one of these locations. Even semi-dark sites can be a lot of fun- don't think you "have" to drive far. Local astronomers in your area can help you find the best viewing spots.
Star Ware by Phil Harrington
Great book for learning about the various types of telescopes & equipment. I recommend this book highly. If you are just starting out in astronomy this book will help out with your purchasing decisions.
A good magazine for beginners on up.
Sky & Telescope
A little more advanced in content.
Used Astronomy Equipment: