star gazing ©Photo by Tyson Dudley on Unsplash.jpg

Have you ever stopped to marvel at the night sky? Now the nights are drawing in now it’s the perfect time to get a bit more intimate with the skies. Here are 5 tips for taking your stargazing to the next level.

1. GO AS HIGH AS YOU CAN

Try and get away from light pollution, and as high up and away from buildings and streetlights as possible.

2. DON’T BUY A TELESCOPE YET

If you are new to stargazing, you may want to rush out and buy yourself a telescope. Don’t, you’ll only get frustrated because it’s not as easy to use as you might first think and you don’t yet really know what you are looking at. You would be better to use a good set of binoculars to look for a few obvious constellations that will help you navigate the sky and learn to identify these before investing in a good telescope. You’ll be surprised by how much detail they can provide, such as looking at the craters found on the moon.

3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME TO LOOK.

Star gazing is great if you don’t mind the cold. The sky is at it’s best on a clear crisp night, when there is little humidity in the air. When the moon is full there is too much light and it washes everything else out, so look for a crips cold evening when the moon is in crescent or not visible at all.

4. INVEST IN A GOOD STAR CHART

Learn the skies with a good star chart, or look out for apps that will help you study the sky. There are some great ones out there that allow you to see the position of planets, set your location and move the horizon. Your phone should also have a setting that allows you to adjust it’s white light so that it doesn’t interfere with your eyes adjusting the the nights sky. Sky Map and Skyview are good but there are plenty to choose from all offering different services.

5. FOLLOW ASTROLOGERS ON TWITTER

This is a great way to keep up to date with when solar eclipses take place, the passing of the space station or a meteor shower.

  1. What to take with you. Something to lie on. The ground can be very cold and damp.
  2. Food, a hot drink and warm clothes to keep comfortable.
  3. A sprinkling of imagination. You never know how long or what you might
    see, in some cases just cloud!
  4. A compass, essential to help you find a particular constellation or star.
  5. Your camera to capture the moment of your fellow star gazers and the
    stars above.

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