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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Garner

What Are The 10 Biggest Stargazing Mistakes To Avoid?

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Stargazing is a learning experience, at the beginning it is a journey of trial and error. But fear not, for I have some tips to help you avoid the many pitfalls of stargazing and become a more successful cosmic wonder.

young woman watching the milkyway

Common Stargazing Mistakes

Not Checking the Weather

When it comes to stargazing, the weather can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Imagine setting up your telescope and getting ready to witness a meteor shower, only to have the rain pour down on you like a monsoon. Trust me, it's not a pleasant experience. That's why it's important to check the weather forecast before you venture out. Keep an eye on the clouds, wind, and humidity levels. If it's not looking good, don't risk it. Wait for a clear night and thank yourself later.

Not Finding a Dark Enough Location

Stargazing is all about immersing yourself in the beauty of the universe, but that's hard to do when pesky streetlights and city lights are blocking your view. If you really want to experience the magic of the cosmos, you need to find a dark enough location. Head to a remote area, away from the bright lights of the city, and look for a spot that's darker than your ex's soul. This will allow you to see the stars and constellations in all their glory, without any interference from light pollution.

a road and the milky way at the background

Using a Telescope Incorrectly

A telescope is a stargazer's best friend, but using one incorrectly can lead to disappointment. Imagine pointing your telescope at a star cluster and seeing nothing but a blurry blob. Not exactly what you had in mind, right? To avoid this, make sure you know how to handle your telescope. Read the instructions, watch some tutorial videos, and practice, practice, practice. With a little bit of know-how, you'll be able to observe celestial objects in all their intricate detail.

Not Giving Your Eyes Time to Adjust

You're all set to stargaze, but as soon as you step outside, you feel like you're stumbling around in the dark. Sound familiar? This is because your eyes need time to adjust to the darkness. It can take up to 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust, so be patient. Don't rush into stargazing, take your time and let your eyes adjust to the darkness. Trust us, the wait will be worth it.

Not Knowing What to Look For

The sky is a vast expanse of wonder, but if you don't know what you're looking for, you're just staring at a bunch of twinkling lights. Do your research before you go stargazing. Find out what constellations are visible in your location, learn about the planets and stars, and find out if any meteor showers or eclipses are coming up. This will give you a much better appreciation of what you're seeing, and you'll be able to identify and appreciate the celestial objects with ease.

staring at a bunch of twinkling lights

Not Dressing Warmly Enough

Stargazing can be a chilly experience, especially if you're planning to spend a few hours outside. It's important to dress appropriately and bring enough layers to keep you warm. Think North Pole, not a beach party. Bring a jacket, a hat, gloves, and warm socks. Or, if you prefer, bring a cozy blanket to snuggle up in. Trust us, you'll enjoy the experience much more if you're not shivering the whole time.

Using a Flashlight is Not a Good Idea When Stargazing

Flashlights are useful tools, but they can also ruin your stargazing experience. The bright light can blind you and disrupt your night vision. If you need a light source, use a red light instead. Red light doesn't affect your night vision as much, so you can use it to see your way around without ruining your stargazing experience.

Not Bringing Snacks and Water

Stargazing is a mesmerizing activity that can quickly turn into an all-night event. It's essential to pack enough snacks and water to sustain you through the experience. Being hungry or dehydrated can be a significant distraction, and you don't want to cut your adventure short because of a grumbling stomach. Plus, stargazing is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a picnic under the stars, so make the most of it and bring some delicious treats!

Stargazing During a Full Moon

While stargazing during a full moon can be a breathtaking experience, it's not always the best time to observe celestial bodies. The bright light of the moon can wash out the fainter stars and make it challenging to see anything other than the moon's surface. Stargazing during a full moon is like trying to enjoy a romantic dinner with your ex – it's just not going to end well. So, unless you're specifically interested in observing the moon itself, it's best to plan your stargazing adventure during a new moon or when the moon is in its crescent phase.

And Last and Not Least… Not Being Patient!

Stargazing is a pursuit that requires patience and perseverance. It's not an activity that offers instant gratification, like binge-watching a TV series. It's more like waiting for your crush to text you back; the longer you wait, the better the payoff. When you're stargazing, it's essential to take your time, allow your eyes to adjust to the darkness, and wait for the magic to happen. Rushing through the experience will only lead to disappointment. So, slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the night sky at your own pace.

staring at a bunch of twinkling lights

While there are certainly many stargazing guides available, I believe that my list of mistakes is an essential addition to your preparations for this incredible journey. I say this from experience, having made more stargazing blunders than I care to admit.

I hope that learning from my mistakes, you'll be equipped with the secret sauce that will make your own stargazing adventure a resounding success. So, before you set out into the great beyond, take note of my celestial slip-ups and use them to your advantage. Trust me, your future stargazing self will thank you for it!

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