Look for ones that are anti-fogging and have glass lenses. Stargazing is a fun way to learn some science at the same time. You can actually see many wonders of the night with your naked eye, but you will need to allow 15 minutes or so to adjust properly to the darkness. “Maybe you're trying to find some faint constellation, so you wait for the night when the moon is going to be in that constellation, then you find the moon. “The more you look, the more you’ll see,” American Astronomical Society press officer Rick Fienberg says. Much of your decision will also depend on your skill level, and on your budget. Stargazing is a bit of a weird hobby to pick up in many ways. You're guaranteed to be left awe-struck by the sheer size, and beauty, of the universe. “Get a feel for how the night sky moves as the earth rotates – how it moves through the night, how it moves from season to season, see the planets and the moon shifting positions.”, There’s no magic formula – any time of night and any time of year is fine, you just want to be out there whenever the weather is clear. If you know you definitely want to get into stargazing, then it’s worth investing in a proper telescope along with a decent camera and tripod to capture the best moments. The better-known constellations – the Big Dipper, Orion, Sagittarius, and Scorpius – are fun to find on their own, and they can also be useful for locating other things when they’re in season. 6 lockdown lessons that will make us better travellers “But beware: most Go To telescopes require a bit of sky sense on the part of their owners to get them set up and oriented before they can point at objects accurately. “One of the first things a new stargazer learns is that we see different parts of the sky from different latitudes on earth,” Fienberg says. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her. Despite popular belief, when you’re a beginner you really don’t need much equipment for Stargazing and to get a taste for the wonders of the night sky – not even a telescope. App and software-wise, Pease and Fienberg both recommend Stellarium. “It's a great big sky and some things are brighter than others, but the moon's one of the brightest things, [and] using it as a marker can be really handy,” Pease says. The BBC's Sky at Night has a handy guide to binocular stargazing, which includes the specifications to look for. At this point they are in their closest orbit and best for viewing. This means in a direct line between the earth and the sun. “They make a map every month showing the brightest things in the night sky – the brightest stars, the outlines of the constellations, and if there’s going to be any planets out, where those will be just after sunset,” she says. For beginners, Pease is partial to Skymaps.com. A new generation of ‘smart scopes’ requires little more than the flip of a switch thanks to built-in GPS, magnetometers, and accelerometers, but all that technology comes at a price.”. “The point is to have something to guide your viewing so you’ll be able to learn some constellations, identify some bright stars and planets by name, figure out why things move differently depending on which direction you’re looking, and so on,” Fienberg says. A forest clearing is absolutely ideal, but anywhere that is as dark as possible will suffice. “These are great opportunities to check out what's available and learn about how it works, how much it costs, and where to buy,” he says. They do the job perfectly well, simply set the date and time to show what is in the night sky. “You want your pupils to dilate as much as possible, [and] red light won't cause your pupils to close up again nearly as much as a white light would.” And ix-nay on the phone – even those dark light settings are still pretty bright, especially if you’re stargazing in a dim spot. There’s also SkySafari and SkyView, which have inexpensive and free versions, respectively, that can help you identify thousands of points of interest, from stars, planets, and moons to nebulae, galaxies, comets, and asteroids. this year's most exciting celestial spectacles, 12 things you'll completely understand if you're always on time, You will feel happiest on this day of your holiday, This is when the 2018 hay fever season will start, Countries to visit if you're an introvert. Your smartphone is one of your best stargazing friends – download either the Night Sky app or Sky Map, set your phone to night vision and simply point your phone at the sky. How these American artists are finding inspiration during the coronavirus pandemic. And 2019's celestial highlights include two eclipses, four meteor showers, and a rare planet transit. That constellation is going to be kind of washed out because the moon is there, and it's really bright, but now you know where it is relative to other things in the sky.”. We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article. The best guide to astronomy for beginners is the night sky. Fienberg also suggests binoculars as the best option for beginners. There are also all-sky star charts, websites, guidebooks for beginners, and apps that identify what you’re seeing when you point your phone at the sky, all of which can enhance your stargazing experience (more on all that in a sec). Log in, Stargazing 101 - Northern Hemisphere (PDF), Stargazing 101 - Northern Hemisphere (Audio), https://cosmicpursuits.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Stargazing101_North_v1.mp3, Stargazing 101 – Southern Hemisphere (PDF), Stargazing 101 – Southern Hemisphere (Audio), https://cosmicpursuits.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Stargazing101_South_v1.mp3. The Earth is constantly rotating on its axis, but the stars are fixed, so the night sky changes from night to night and season to season. Constellations are groups of stars that have been named based on the shapes they suggest, most are from Greek mythology. Stargazing for Beginners: Planning Your First Night Out By travel, Weather Blogs Published mar. “Go outside at night, and just look up and start getting to know what's up there,” Amateur Astronomers Association of New York president Irene Pease tells Lonely Planet. You're guaranteed to be left awe-struck by the sheer size, and beauty, of the universe. © 2020 Lonely Planet. I want emails from Lonely Planet with travel and product information, promotions, advertisements, third-party offers, and surveys. Country Living participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. “The moon is the easiest thing to find in the night sky and the easiest thing to aim at with binoculars or a telescope,” Fienberg says. But you don't need to own a telescope, or know the constellations like the back of your hand, to see this year's most exciting celestial spectacles. You may notice a reddish tinge in photographs taken of astronomical outings, and there’s good reason for that: to read star wheels or sky charts, it’s best to use a red flashlight as opposed to a white one “so as not to dazzle your eyes and make it hard to see the stars,” Fienberg says. “They give a right-side-up image (most telescopes give an upside-down or mirror-reversed image), they’re easy to aim because they show a reasonably large field of view (telescopes show a tiny field of view), they’re more comfortable to look through because you use both eyes rather than only one, and you may well already have binoculars lying around the house, in which case you don’t have to buy anything,” he says.

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