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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Garner

Stargazing for Beginners: My Complete Guide for Stargazing

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Stargazing can be an adventure for the whole family to enjoy, but there is a right way to go about getting the most out of your sky watching experience. With my complete guide for stargazing, you'll be able to plan your adventure with minimal effort. I'll walk you through finding a good site and provide with a list of places where I have had success in my experience. When you’re ready, all that’s left to do is head out and enjoy the glow of the stars above!

The Best Time To Go Stargazing

The best time to go stargazing is at night. This is because there is less light pollution at night, which makes it easier to see the stars. The best time of year to go stargazing is during the winter months, when the nights are longer. The best time of month to go stargazing is during a new moon, when the moon is not visible in the sky. The best time of day to go stargazing is after sunset.

How to Reduce The Light Around You

One way to reduce the light around you is by using light-colored curtains or blinds to cover windows. This will help to block out some of the artificial light coming from outside. Another way to reduce the light in your environment is by buying a light dimmer switch. This type of switch allows you to control the amount of light that comes from your light fixtures. You can also reduce the light in your space by unplugging or turning off electronic devices when they are not in use. Finally, wearing dark clothing can also help to reduce the amount of light around you.

Stargazing From Home

Stargazing from home doesn't require any expensive equipment. All you need is a clear view of the night sky. If you live in an urban area, there are still ways to get a good view of the stars. You can use light-colored curtains or blinds to reduce the light pollution coming from outside your home. You can also buy a light dimmer switch, which will help you control the amount of light in your environment.

If you have electronic devices in your home, such as TVs or computers, unplug them or turn them off when you're not using them. This will help reduce the amount of light pollution in your home.

Binoculars can be used for a closer look at the stars. They magnify the image of the stars, making them appear brighter and easier to see. Star maps and apps can also be used to identify constellations and learn about the stars.

Stargazing Outdoors

When you’re ready to take your stargazing adventure outdoors, there are a few things you can do to reduce the effects of light pollution. One way is to get away from city lights by heading out into the suburbs or countryside. Another option is to use a light shield, which is a piece of dark fabric that you can hold up to block out light from nearby sources.

The best time for stargazing is usually on a clear, dark night. This means that there are no clouds obscuring the view of the stars, and there is very little artificial light pollution. If you live in an area with a lot of light pollution, you may need to travel to a darker location to get the best view of the stars.

A Must-have for Stargazing Outdoors

A Clear View of the Sky

One of the most important things you need for stargazing is a clear view of the sky. If you live in a city, there may be too much light pollution for you to see anything. Even if you live in a rural area, trees and other obstacles can block your view. The best place to stargaze is in an open field with no obstructions.

Dark-Adapted Eyes

Another important thing you need for stargazing is dark-adapted eyes. This means that your eyes have had time to adjust to the darkness. It can take up to 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust, so it’s best to start stargazing at least an hour after sunset.

A Telescope or Binoculars

If you want to see more than just the brightest stars, you’ll need a telescope or binoculars. A telescope will allow you to see planets, nebulae, and even galaxies beyond our own. Binoculars are a good option if you don’t want to invest in a telescope, as they are less expensive and easier to transport.

A Star Chart

A star chart is a map of the night sky that shows you where different constellations are located. It can be helpful to have a star chart when you’re first starting out, as it can be difficult to find specific stars without one. You can find star charts online or in astronomy books and magazines.

A Red Light Flashlight

It’s important that you use a red light flashlight when looking at your star chart or planisphere, as white light will ruin your night vision. Red light doesn’t affect your eyes’ dark adaptation, so it won’t make it difficult for you to see the stars once you turn it off. You can buy red light flashlights online or at some astronomy stores.

What to look for when you're sky watching

When sky watching, there are a few things you can look for. The stars, moon, planets, comets and asteroids, and shooting stars are all visible in the night sky. To get the best view of each of these objects, it is important to know where to look and what to look for.

The stars are perhaps the most obvious object in the night sky. They are usually seen as a twinkling light in the distance. However, if you use binoculars or a telescope, you can see that they are actually quite bright. You can also see that they come in different colors. The color of a star depends on its temperature. The hottest stars are blue, while the coolest stars are red.

The moon is another object that is often seen in the night sky. It is usually seen as a white disc. However, if you look at it through binoculars or a telescope, you can see that it is actually quite bright. You can also see that it has craters on its surface. These craters were caused by meteorites hitting the surface of the moon.

Planets are also often seen in the night sky. They usually appear as bright dots. However, if you use binoculars or a telescope, you can see that they are actually quite large. You can also see that they have different features on their surfaces. For example, Jupiter has dark stripes on its surface, while Saturn has rings around it.

Comets and asteroids are also sometimes seen in the night sky. They usually appear as faint dots. However, if you use binoculars or a telescope, you may be able to see them better. Comets sometimes have tails made up of gas and dust that trail behind them as they orbit the sun. Asteroids are small rocky bodies that orbit the sun but do not have tails like comets do.

Shooting stars are another object that can be seen in the night sky. They usually appear as streaks of light across the sky. However, they are actually quite faint and only last for a few seconds before disappearing again

Great Telescope For Beginners

From my experience, I'd recommend starting out by choosing a telescope size and type that you know you'll be comfortable with. For me, I wanted something more than your typical beginner's model so I went for a middle-of-the-road option - not too big or too small. It was perfect for the adventure of exploring new sites in the night sky and for taking in some beautiful views of astronomical wonders. That's why it has become my choice after months of trying different ones out - it just fits my criteria perfectly.

FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

SOLOMARK Telescopes for Adults

Highlights: 70mm Aperture and 700mm Focal Length, Effectively reduce chromatic aberration and halo, Smartphone adapter with 1.5X Barlow Lens which provide 70x magnification.

Helpful review: "The telescope was easy to put together and NO tools required. First, I would like to start with the tripod. The Tripod is made out of metal, and it is better quality than any tripod for cameras I have ever used. The main optical tube is plastic and is very light. There is a slight learning curve to us beginners but did not take long before I was looking at the mood and all of its craters. The Cell phone hold worked well after I figured it out. Unfortunately, it was a little windy when I was using the scope so taking a picture of the moon did not turn out so well. I am positive on a calm night; I will be able to get that photo everyone wants. I would highly suggest aligning your finder scope and the main scope during the day on a stationary target. I was too excited when I got it together, I had to go out and look for something. The registration for the warranty process was easy and so far, everything seems to be going well. I will update if something changes." - Temple Kellogg

Get it from Amazon now: $199.89 - $248.69 & FREE Returns

Trending review: "I got the Solomark F70070EQ telescope for Christmas, a gift from my daughter and wife. I few months ago, I told the story how I always wanted to buy a telescope to see the night skies. To my surprise, I got one. At first. I thought they bought me one of those department stores telescopes. You know the kind, the ones that are not that good. Let me tell you they got me an awesome/great telescope. The first clear night, I took it out to see how it perform. Wow! I got to see the very bright planet Venus, Jupiter and its four moons and the amazing Saturn with its rings. I spend about two hours just viewing the night skies that first night. I just can't wait to see the moon. We are currently in the "new moon" phase. Let me tell you this Solomark refractor telescope is a good one. Assembling was very easy to follow. Plus, Solomark has a video on YouTube to show you how to assemble the telescope. The tripod is good for this telescope and the equatorial mount makes it easy for tracking the objects in the skies. It comes with two Plossl eyepiece (20mm and 10mm) and a finder scope to aim the Solomark telescope into the right direction. If you want to get into the hobby of astronomy, then this is a great beginning / starter telescope, you can’t go wrong with this one. ****UPDATE**** I wanted to add something regarding this review. The Solomark Company has a great customer service and support team for their customers. After using the telescope several times, I noticed (just me, maybe not you) nothing to do with the performance of the telescope, that there was a minor, cosmetic, regarding one of its parts. I reached out to Solomark and they were quick to respond. They send me the replacement part a week after I contacted them. Now that is great customer service. Shoutout to Joyce from Solomark, who reached out to me and helped me with my issue. Thank you, Rilde Gonzalez from Hollywood, FL." - Mariella Gonzalez

Get it from Amazon now: $199.89 - $248.69 & FREE Returns

Reassuring review: "After doing a lot of research, trying to decide on the perfect telescope for my teenage son, Who has lately shown a lot of interest in astronomy .. I have found that with telescopes, the aperture size matters much more than magnification. The bigger the aperture, the better the image will be. This is a 70mm aperture (2.75 inches), which is about as small as you can get. Very typical for an "entry-level" telescope, I found this model to be perfect for my Son who is just beginning to get into this hobby if you want to get into stargazing without dropping 500 bucks or more on a bigger scope this is the model for you. My son is 5‘3“ and it’s a comfortable height for him, Also, I find it to be very durable, tripod is strong and sturdy.. it was also very quick and easy to set up, we were using it five minutes, after removing it from the box .. it has a very professional look and feel to it.. Great viewing experience overall! The phone adapter fits his iPhone 11 securely and perfectly It came in a beautiful plain white box, perfect for gifting. It was actually a double surprise after opening the wrapping paper, and then having to open the box as well..very happy with this purchase, totally worth the money!" - Sunrise Circle

Get it from Amazon now: $199.89 - $248.69 & FREE Returns

My Final Thoughts

Many people think that stargazing requires deep knowledge and technological skills, but with this guide I hope I’ve shown you that it’s not an intimidating hobby to pick up. With the proper telescope and star chart, anyone can be a born stargazer with just a little bit of dedication. Just remember to take care when choosing a telescope and chart, and be sure to consider how near or far away your preferred observation site is. Above all else though, embrace the beauty of what lies beyond our planet! For those of you brave enough to enter the vast above world, follow this guide for a great stargazing experience. With any luck, tonight will be clear enough for some amazing sights!

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