Have you always wanted to get a bit more involved in stargazing when visiting the campsite? Maybe you have a son or daughter who is getting quite keen on the hobby. If so, we have put together an easy stargazing guide 2015 for you to use the next time you go camping.
We’ve included our top tips on stargazing success, recommended stargazing Apps, the best stargazing events 2015 and the lowdown on telescopes available; from the ‘everyman’ to ‘money’s no object’!
Top Tips On Getting The Best View Of The Stars
- Let your eyes adjust. Our modern day eyes are too used to being surrounded by computer screens, phone displays and spotlights. Give them time to relax and adjust to a dark sky by arriving in your chosen spot 15-20 minutes before you intend to start stargazing.
- Prepare to stare! It’s often colder than you think at night. Make sure you dress for the climate by wearing an extra layer. A blanket will give you an essential barrier between your body and the cold ground. Also, be sure to have a blanket or a chair to lie back on so you be comfortable while looking at the stars.
- Go rural. To have a truly amazing star gazing experience, you need to get into the country and away from all those city lights. If you can’t do this, however, you can still improve your experience by switching off as many lights as you can. If you want to use an app to help you stargaze (see below) make sure the brightness settings on your gadgets are turned right down.
- Consider getting a Sky Map. A sky map will help you know where to look, and what to look for! (read on for recommended sky map apps and make sure you turn the brightness settings down!)
- Don’t spend money on expensive equipment. Unless you are taking up stargazing as a long-term hobby, you needn’t spend money on telescopes or expensive gadgets. You’ll be amazed at the amount of wonderful stars you will see by lying back and just using your eyes.
Need a Sky Map?
Check out the apps below; all get great reviews for stellar stargazing.
- Starmap on iOS.
- The Night Sky Lite on iOS and Android.
- Sky Map Android
- Sky Night Walks
- Pocket Universe on iOS
- Sky Safari on iOS and Android
Stargazing Events You Don’t Want To Miss In 2015:
Meteor showers (shooting stars):
- Quadrantids – Jan 3rd 2015 – not as easy to see as other showers as the peak of this show is only a few hours long.
- Lunar eclipse – April 4 2015 – will only be seen from the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
- Lyrids – April 22nd 2015 – lasting for about 10 days with its peak about the 22nd, this show is better for beginners.
- Eta Aquarids – May 5-6 2015 – with consideration of the brightness of the moon, this show will be best seen between these dates.
- Venus and Jupiter – June 30 2015 – these two bright planets will seem to be strikingly close together (only half the width of the moon)
- Planet Venus – July 10 2015 – see this vast planet as it heads back towards the sun.
- Delta Aquarids – July 30 2015 – lasting for approximately one month, but peaking on these dates, this is a great mid summer show for every camping event.
- Perseids – August 12-13th 2015 – considering the position of the moon, the best time to watch this show will be just after midnight on these dates.
Find more information on how and where to view these meteor showers at Wikipedia.
Three of the Best Telescopes!
If you love to stargaze and are taking it up as a hobby, it’s a good idea to invest in a telescope. The three below all come highly recommended, and as you can see, are affordable to a range of budgets.
Levenhuk Strike NG – Perfect for beginners and amateur stargazers.
Celestron 127 EQ Power Seeker – An excellent tool for those who want to take their stargazing hobby seriously.
Nancy B’s Science Club Moonscope – Affordable and great for kids.