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