Stargazing Tips For Backyard Astronomers

Guide To Stargazing

In the event that you’re getting started with astronomy here are several stargazing tips that you may find useful.The most sensible thing to do is to first become familiar with the night sky with your eyes only . On a clear night you will be able to easily see features on the Moon and the planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, the occasional satellites and maybe even a few meteor showers.

A decent pair of astronomy binoculars will present you with a very good and low-cost introduction to the night sky. When held steady, binoculars will provide you with a some great views of the Moon’s craters and possibly even a bright comet.

If you have been bitten by the astronomy bug you may be all set to move to an astronomy telescope. However you should avoid like the plague cheap, common models typically encountered at the checkout counters of retail stores.

Even though these scopes generally assure you of high magnification and clear images they routinely have cheaply made tripods, which unfortunately tend to shake to such a degree that it causes a large number of users to become despondent and quit after just two or three sessions.

To get the best viewing you can you should observe the weather reports and hold out for a night that is clear and dark. Then once you have arrived at your observation point, allow your eyes to adapt to the dark before beginning you observation session.

Backyard Stargazing Tips

Next you will want to ensure you are dressed for the weather conditions. For cold nights go well prepared, take blankets and additional coats or mosquito repellant in the high biting seasons. Take quick snacks and plenty of fluid so that you won't need to return to your home if you find yourself getting hunger pangs.

To get started select 2 to 3 targets per night. There are plenty of objects to take a look at in the heavens, so it is better to keep it uncomplicated in the beginning. Become familiar with the Solar System, find a new constellation, determine where Mars is, or take a look at craters on the moon. In case you have a small telescope, you can check out the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, or bright objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleiades.

The ideal way to observe a meteor shower is to get far away from the city lights. If the moon is too bright, you might have issues viewing meteors, aside from the very brightest ones. You can also make a real event out of your stargazing evening by joining with a few friends, bringing a bbq, flashlight, blankets and chairs,even a tent if you intend staying out all night.

If you are now getting a little more adventurous you may want to take a look at Venus. It's usually best to observe this world at twilight before the glare becomes too much to handle.

You are not going to be able to see any surface features, however it is enjoyable to observe Venus undergoing its various phases. Your viewing experience is going to be far better at the end of September and during October, when you will see Venus as a thin crescent and far nearer to the Earth.

Ultimately the success of your stargazing evening will be dependent on the weather over which unfortunately you have no control. Still you can check the weather conditions in advance and choose the best viewing conditions you possibly can.

If you want a really good read the The Backyard Astronomer's Guide is a great source of information.

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