City Viewers Guide to Star Gazing

Star Gazing for City Dwellers written by: KCSHome The simple joy of star gazing is one that frequently eludes those living in a large city. Taking a child out for a walk, and looking up into the sky will yield a few important sights to point out, but these are typically limited. The reason a metropolitan night sky seems to offer so little clear heavenly viewing is light population. Since you won't get far convincing a city council to shut all the lights off when the sun goes down the next best thing is to find some aids to gazing at and the naming a star.

Find Others with an Interest

One key method of finding out more about star gazing in an urban atmosphere is to know you aren't alone. No, this doesn't mean waiting for E.T. to show up. Locating some friendly astronomy clubs in your town, and asking for suggestions for the best viewing in your area can assist in getting started. These other star gazers in your area will know the safe spots where the lights are dimmer. Getting away from the center of a city where much of the offending light is produced will remedy some of the problem, but you might need to drive further away if you live in areas where every part of the town remains brightly illuminated throughout the night. Be prepared for some driving, but always try to avoid risky areas. Also remember to bring some extra warm clothing, and consider a thermos filled with coffee or hot coco to avoid a chill.

The Right Equipment for the City Star Spotter

You might be surprised to find how much you can see when you're planning to adopt a star, with just a pair of binoculars. This is a great option for young children in offering them a chance to get a closer look at the moon or other objects in our own solar system when possible. You need a basic star map to aid in catching a view of objects farther from Earth. Star maps can be found online and printed off, or you can just use a tablet or smart phone. Remember to set the device you use on a dimmer setting, or use a flashlight with a red bulb, so your eyes don't need to adjust each time you look away from the map. Inexpensive telescopes will work great for those who are only interested in taking in the sights, and children usually find these a fascinating tool for star gazing.

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