Star Gazing Tips

Written by sherry osborne
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Star Gazing Tips
Check the weather before stargazing. (stars on sky image by Marek Kosmal from Fotolia.com)

People have spent thousands of years gazing up at the night sky, looking at the stars. In present day, stargazing is still a popular hobby, and it's one that you can do right in your own backyard. It can be as simple as lying out and watching the stars above or it can become as complex as purchasing a telescope and charting the skies.

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Watch the Weather

There's no point in heading out to gaze at the stars if a storm is rolling in. An overcast sky will only lead to frustration and disappointment. Tune in to your local weather forecast to find a night that will be clear with little to no cloud cover.

Check Lunar Schedules

The moon is an astronomy subject in its own right, but its bright light can overpower the stars, so along with the weather, you can look for a night where the moon is only a sliver or not out at all.

Keep It Dark

The darker your surroundings, the better your experience. Try to choose a location that is as dark as possible to see the most stars.

Know Your Stars

Using a star chart will help you to familiarise yourself with what you're seeing. Some people might be happy to just take in the view, but if you know where to find specific stars or constellations--and sometimes even planets--it will only add to your experience.

Grab Your Binoculars

Binoculars won't magnify the stars above the way a high-powered NASA telescope will, but they can help you see things a little closer than the naked eye. They're also handy if you do end up out on a moon-filled night. An average pair of binoculars can bring the moon's craters into sharper detail.

Try a Telescope

If you find yourself enjoying stargazing on a regular basis and feel you'd like to become more serious with your hobby, purchase a telescope; it will help you zoom in much closer to the moon and other objects in the night sky than you can with binoculars.

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