Preparing for the Ultimate Stargazing Experience
There is nothing quite like a night sky. Looking up into the endless abyss of twinkles and sparkles transports me to new worlds and gives me reason to stay on this one.But a quality stargazing experience doesn’t just come from nowhere. Sometimes you have to work for it. And if you live in a city or a place with lots of light pollution, you may have to work even harder.
Driving or hiking to more secluded places might be the only way for you to experience a night sky that will truly take you to outer space.Some may have experience in these types of trips, while others may not. So here are some things to consider when heading out on a stargazing experience that will help make it the best it can be.
If you’re headed out into the woods or the desert, there’s a pretty good chance it will get quite cool at night. Even in places you think of as always being hot, such as the Mojave Desert, it gets chilly at night, and if you aren’t properly prepared, you’re stargazing experience can very quickly turn from life-changing to miserable.
When just heading out for the evening, make sure to bring blankets, extra layers, and even sleeping bags. It might also be a good idea to carry a hot drink, such as tea, with you in an insulated mug. This will help you can stay warm when it gets cool at night.
For some, though, it might be better to just spend the night. When you do this, make sure to bring something to help you make shelter, such as a tent or a tarp, and plenty of food.You could also bring things to help you make a fire, but in the pitch dark, this can take away from the stargazing experience. And since it is extremely dangerous to make a fire and then walk away, it might be best to simply leave this until you are done looking at the stars. But in a dark, secluded area, that moment may never come!
When wandering out into the wilderness, there are certain dangers you might not be giving too much attention but that can quickly ruin your experience. Mosquitoes, for example, can carry all sorts of diseases and can be a real nuisance. Either cover up or bring some sort of repellent.
There are also some animals out there you’d like to stay away from. Snakes can be an issue, as well as foxes, coyotes, or sometimes bears. The best way to keep yourself safe is to store food in airtight places so that animals can’t smell it, or hang bags up in trees away from where you make camp.
If you’re still worried, you could carry an air rifle with you. You can use it to scare away animals if they come to close to you, and since these use pellets instead of bullets and make far less noise, you won’t have to worry about doing any harm. However, this will only work with small animals. Being smart and following the appropriate protocols are the only way to protect yourself from larger threats, such as bears.
Don’t Forget Your Telescope
When you head out to look at the stars, remember these safety tips and recommendations. They’re a great way to make sure you have the best stargazing experience possible. Some other things you’ll want to bring include a telescope, a star chart and a flashlight. Telescopes can be expensive and aren’t absolutely necessary. You can still enjoy the night sky without them. But being able to zoom in on stars and star clusters adds an extra “wow” factor everyone should experience at some point.
Also, when carrying a flashlight, bring a red cloth or piece of paper to put over it. This will weaken the light a bit, and since our eyes are less sensitive to red light, using a flashlight like this won’t disturb our ability to see the stars.
As you can see, with a little planning and preparation, the ultimate stargazing experience is well within your reach.