5 Stargazing Tips to Help You Have the Best Galactic Experience

Nature provides us with many beautiful views but we’re often too distracted or busy to see them. The sky on a clear, starry night provides a wonderful opportunity to relax, expose kids to science and take in the wonders that surround us. The next time the sky is clear, pack up some essentials and head outdoors. Here’s how to make the most of your experience.

Gather Some Supplies
You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible when you gaze at the clear night sky. That means you’ll need to pack some essentials. Depending on the time of year, it may get a little chilly so layering your clothing is a great idea. If you want something cool to wear, space hoodies are a fun choice, especially for the younger members of your party. Comfortable mats, chairs, and cushions will also help you to settle in. Don’t forget a blanket, snacks, and drinks.

Get as High as Possible
If you live in a rural area, you probably have unfettered access to the night sky. However, many cities struggle with light pollution and tall buildings can block the view. To get the best possible look at the stars, you may need to head to an elevated area which is away from streetlights. LED streetlights can especially ruin the view.

Learn the Difference Between Planets and Stars
A starry sky is certainly beautiful but if you want to understand what you’ll be looking at, it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand. For quick reference, a bright light which sparkles is a star. A light which doesn’t sparkle appears stationary and seems much brighter than the others around it is likely to be a planet. You may actually be able to spot several planets if you can identify the ecliptic plane and trace it across the sky. You can find the plane if you trace a line between two planets or a planet and the moon.

Get Binoculars Instead of a Telescope
Telescopes are cool but if you’re just getting started with stargazing , you don’t need high-end equipment. Telescopes take some getting used and when you can get your operated and you don’t know what you’re looking at, it can be very frustrating. That’s the opposite of what stargazing is supposed to be like. Get to know the constellations and planets and learn how to navigate the sky before you start spending lots of money on gear. This doesn’t mean you have to rely only on your naked eye. Even cheap binoculars will help you to see the details on the moon. If you want to upgrade your equipment later, you’ll already know the basics.

Connect with Like-Minded People
Stargazing can be a very social experience and one of the best ways to learn about astronomy is hanging out with other interested people. There may a group of amateur astronomers in your area who know a lot more than you do. They will likely have access to a local observatory and even telescopes which you can take a peek through.

All you need to do is ask around.

Stargazing can be a fun an educational hobby. Do your research and find the perfect location and in time, you’ll learn more than you ever thought you’d know about the world around you.

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