Tips for Stargazing

6 Stargazing Tips

Another Annual meteor shower is due to peak this week – the Leonid’s Meteor shower. This shower will be going from November 6th to November 30th, but will be at its peak on November 17th. After midnight and before sunrise there should be between 10 to 15 meteors an hour. This means that this week it is a great time to go Stargazing, so here are 6 tips to make the most out of stargazing!

Pick somewhere elevated, dark, and safe:

The higher up that you go, the less things that you will have obstructing your view, and you will be able to view more sky. The same goes for darkness – the less light that you have the more stars you will be able to see. Most importantly you want to make sure you are safe, that you can look at the sky instead of worrying about your surroundings.

Make it Comfy:

If you are stargazing, chances are you are going to be on the ground looking up – bring lots of blankets that you are willing to get a little dirty. Or if you have it available, fill the bed of a truck with blankets and pillows and snuggle up there. This is what I did the last time I took my friends stargazing and it was so fun!

Do your research!

If you are going to see a specific event or look for a specific planet or constellation, make sure to do your research on when is the best time to see it. For example, you would not want to go out in the middle of the night looking for Mercury because you can only see it dawns and dusks. You want to have a general idea of when to look where, so you do not spend the whole night wondering.

Go with friends:

Although it is not a requirement to go stargazing with other people, it is so much more fun. Especially if you are waiting on shooting stars – friends help the time go by quicker. This also goes back to point number one of being safe. There is safety in numbers and in my opinion it is always more comfortable to be with friends when stargazing.

Bring a Sky Map (or download an app):

If you are out stargazing, it is always fun to know what you are looking at. There are some really cool stargazing apps that you can point at the sky and they will tell you the constellations that you are looking at. You can find some of these at the app star like star chart and night sky. (If you would like a more comprehensive list of stargazing apps click here). You can also go old school and bring a printed map and a low light flashlight to look at it.

Go when there is a Quarter Moon or Less:

While I love looking at the moon, when the moon is bright it makes it harder to see the stars around the sky. This means that stargazing when there is a new moon is going to be the best, but if the moon is only showing a crescent that should not effect your ability to see the stars too much.

Bonus Tip: If you plan on taking pictures of the stars when you are stargazing it is best to have a tripod. Your camera will need a longer exposure time in order to get the best picture, and it is almost impossible to hold your camera that still for that long.

Me and my tripod last time I went stargazing.

Upcoming Meteor Showers

With the end of 2020 approaching, we have a number of different times to catch meteor showers:

Leonids: November 6th – November 30th

Geminids: December 4th – December 17th

Ursids: December 17th – December 16th

Quadrantids: December 27th – January 10th

I think one of hardest things about stargazing is just going and doing it. Sometimes you worry too much about getting it perfect, so remember that even if you can’t do all of these tips, just go outside and look up. Stargazing is about enjoying the beauty of the sky, so go out and enjoy the stars!

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Sources

https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/getting-started-2

https://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-shower-calendar/

https://weloveweather.tv/top-6-astronomy-apps/

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