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How to Plan the Ultimate Stargazing Experience

There’s nothing like an evening spent stargazing.

I can remember from an early age being completely fascinated with the stars. Trying to figure out where the constellations were located and the beginning, end and shape of each one kept me very busy. When I think of summer, I remember the constant pursuit of comets, meteors, planets and other heavenly bodies. We’d jump in the car and head out in search of the perfect place to lie under the stars. It was always an adventurer. Stargazing is entertaining, educational and costs next to nothing.

So, when the day is done and the kids are tired, load them up and light up your summer nights:

Stay Local

Unless you live in a very brightly lit city, chances are you can find several local spots dark enough to see the full night sky. Take your time to find a few good spots that face different directions so you have it all covered when you are looking for a specific event or just want to lay around and pick out the constellations.

How to Plan the Ultimate Stargazing Experience

Travel Light

The last thing I want you to do is run out and buy a bunch of astronomy equipment.  What I have found over the years is that mostly what you need is a good pair of binoculars. From all the ballgames and other activities you do, you should have a pair lying around that should do the trick. They should be small, light and feel good in your hands for a length of time. If you have smaller kids, don’t hesitate to get them their own pair.

How to Plan the Ultimate Stargazing Experience

Use Your Smartphone

As you start to explore the stars, you’ll find you need a guide.  I recommend downloading an app to your smartphone or connected tablet, such as Star Walk 2.  You’ll love the animations and you can point your device towards the sky in any direction and the app will tell you what stars, planets and constellations are there.  You can’t beat it for price and ease of use. [Available for both Apple and Android]

How to Plan the Ultimate Stargazing Experience

Create a Calendar

To see the top stargazing events, you need to be ready. To be ready, you’ll need a calendar to work from. Easily create one using various websites like space.com. During some meteor shower, you can see over 90 meteors an hour!

Meteor-Shower

Pitch a Tent

If there is an event you want to be sure to see, it’s worth making an overnight camping trip to spend the night under the stars. This should be done when it really pays to get away from all artificial light and experience the light show far away from everything. What I love is seeing millions of stars and the sky stretch from horizon to horizon. It’s the perfect backdrop for seeing meteors, comets, or whatever comes your way.

Camping-Stargazing

Where’s your favorite place to stargaze? Share in the comments!

More from Samantha Brown:

Things You Must Do When You Travel

10 Best Boardwalks for Summertime Fun

America’s Coolest Coasters

6 Amazing Places to Hike in the U.S.

9 of the World’s Most Incredible Fountains

 

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. The top of Monte Sano Mtn in Huntsville Alabama. The German Rocket Scientists built an observatory on the north end of the mountain looking northeast away from the city lights. Easy drive and a quarter mile from a campground for tents and the rock cabins the rocket scientists stayed with their families when they first came from White Sands. Very cool. The dome is made from the top of a rocket booster fuel tank.

    Bring the kids to Space Camp. Make up a tour. I’ll send you all the spots the marketing front knows little about. As a native, I was a fair witness to an incredible story of rockets and redemption.

  2. I like how you said to stay local when stargazing. I have a date with someone this Saturday and we are going to look at stars to buy for us. Thank you for the tips on star gazing.

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How To Plan The Ultimate Stargazing ExperienceHow To Plan The Ultimate Stargazing Experience
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