Ryan Jacobson 0r Jdrqqvqw Unsplash

Get ready! We’re about to set sail on a cosmic voyage right from our backyards and campsites. Whether you’re chilling in an RV or snuggling in a sleeping bag, stargazing is one of those magical experiences where you realize just how fabulously small we really are.

But before you get all philosophical under the starry sky, let’s talk tips to make your celestial observation a five-star experience.

Research Before You Go

Don’t just wing it, especially if you’re a beginner. Hit up your favorite search engine or astronomy app and look up what celestial events are taking the stage during your outing. Meteor showers? Planets looking extra snazzy? It’ll be your roadmap to the stars and make the night that much cooler.

Find the Right Spot

Remember when you were a kid and thought hiding under a table would make you invisible? Well, hiding from light pollution isn’t much different. Find a dark spot away from city lights to make those constellations pop! National parks, international dark sky parks, or open fields can be real winners for a stargazing rendezvous.

Protect Your Night Vision

If you think the night is dark and full of terrors, just wait until your flashlight ruins your night vision. Keep it cool with a red filter-covered flashlight or headlamp—it’s like having superpowers but for your eyes. Red light helps you see without setting your night vision back to square one. Also, turn off your cell phones (or leave them back at camp altogether). At the very least, turn your screen red to protect your night vision.

Bring the Right Supplies

You’ll want to be prepared to make the most out of your stargazing party. Here are the essentials:

  • Comfy chairs and/or blankets
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • A star chart or app to help ID the different constellations
  • A telescope (it doesn’t have to be fancy!)
  • Warm clothing

Give Your Eyes Time to Adjust

Patience, young grasshopper. Your eyes need about 20 minutes to fully adjust to the dark. That’s like half an episode of your favorite sitcom. Just chill and enjoy the transformation as more and more stars begin to twinkle at you.

Look for Amazing Views

While the north star is cool and all, don’t forget to soak in the wide-angle wonder. Keep an eye out for the brushstrokes of the Milky Way or shooting stars that make you go “Oooh.” Stars often change color as they go through their various life stages, so look for blue, yellow, orange, and red stars. Check out what phase the moon is in. It’s a big universe out there, and it’s got more than just one shiny thing to admire.

Also, tune into the sights and sounds on the ground. Keep an eye out for wildlife under the night sky, and keep your ears trained to accompanying sounds for a well-rounded nighttime experience!

Stargazing is really like camping’s bonus level—and with these tips, you’re all set to nail a high score in astronomy awesomeness. Wrap up warm, keep those peepers primed, and don’t forget to wish upon a star or two. Just in case the universe is listening. Happy stargazing!

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