Fascinating in many ways, the night sky has been the most mysterious riddle for a great many generations. Even though today people know much more than their ancestors a hundred years ago, earthlings are still just at the very beginning of their journey towards the stars.
Thanks to the advancement of modern technologies, amateur astronomers finally can enjoy amazing views of different planets, constellations, and the Milky Way, of course, if they’ve done the homework and learned some basics. If you want to take your stargazing to the next level literally, here are some simple yet incredibly useful tips to get started.
GET A GUIDE
While many newbies wonder where to start their thrilling adventure, the answer is pretty unambiguous – with getting a good book on astronomy intended for beginners. It is the first step for anyone who is serious about stargazing because without having an idea of what you are looking at, the whole plot is not that much fun.
You need to study the night sky, starting small with a monthly chart to get familiar with the major constellations visible during that time. There is a lot to learn about the motion in the sky, when a certain constellation can be seen and when not, so you won’t get frustrated because you can’t find what you are looking for.
INVEST IN THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Do not hurry to buy a telescope until you’re not sure which one is your perfect fit because all chances are, you will just spend money on something that can’t fulfill your expectations. These sophisticated optical instruments come in four major types, each has its purpose, price range, as well as pros and cons. To make the most of your money, do a bit of research, read in-depth reviews of the best telescopes of 2021, narrow your search to a couple of models, and then think about which one of the two can cater directly to your needs. However, do not forget that for amateur astronomers, the size of the aperture is the #1 thing to consider.
THE CLOSER TO THE SKY, THE MERRIER
If you live far from a crazy busy city chock-full of skyscrapers and annoying pollution clouds, then you are in a far better position than metropolis dwellers. By the way, street lights (LED especially) are real enemies of stargazers, hence run from them if you are plotting to see something in the night sky. Anyway, every astronomer worth their salt will tell you that the higher is your position, the better. So, if you don’t have the privilege to live in a remote and mountainous area, consider organizing a camping trip or simply try to do your best to get as high as you can so other buildings don’t interfere with your view.
RED LIGHT IS YOUR EYE’S BEST FRIEND
While the aforementioned street lights are your enemies, a red light is your best friend at night because it will let you see what you want in the night sky without wrecking your vision. It doesn’t matter whether you will buy a red flashlight or just wrap your smartphone with red cellophane, make sure to do one of those. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time getting adjusted to the dark as every quick flash of white or blue light will force your eyes to go through the process of adaptation over and over again.
USE THE MOONLIGHT
According to professional astronomers, the best time for exploring the night sky is when the moon is in a crescent or gibbous phase because then you have just enough light to see everything you want. In line with this, the full moon is the worst time to stay awake at night – the light is so strong, you will see nothing. Even the absence of the moon is better for stargazing than the full disk.
DOWNLOAD AN APP
Back to the benefits of modern technologies, consider getting one of the apps for stargazers. The choice is pretty extensive, from Google Sky Map powered by data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and NASA’s Chandra satellite to a somewhat more advanced Exoplanet.
When it comes to stargazing, the famous catchphrase The Sky’s The Limit doesn’t stay true. Quite on the contrary, the captivating view of a night sky is just the starting point for astronomy buffs who embark on the engaging adventure across galaxies, star clusters, and dark matter halos. Take advantage of these simple tips and who knows, maybe you will discover a new star or planet!