Beginner’s Guide to Stargazing: Everything You’ll Need to Know

Stars are something that leaves everyone in wonder and a state of awe. People are fascinated by these small dots which are distant and stationary in space.

They even practice stargazing and try to differentiate between stars and spot constellations. Finding different patterns and constellations in the sky is a language for many people across many cultures and states.

Some people get so fascinated by the view that all they wanna do is gaze at the stars and take it up as a profession. People look up at the theories of the stars and get a deep insight.

If you wish to begin with stargazing and would love to give it a try, we have provided all the information you will need, so let’s get started!

How to Start With Stargazing as a Beginner?

There is no restriction as to who can get engaged in stargazing and who cannot. It’s for everybody, for some people it is soothing and even therapeutic at times!

If you’ve just started with stargazing and are fascinated by the changes the night sky shows, here are some tips for you to follow and to enjoy stargazing even more!

1. Watching the Moon

The moon is visible to all people at the same phase, all around the world. Well, the time difference prevails. When you start with gazing at the moon, make sure you look at it at the same time every night.

Notice the changes it displays, such as its size, its color. Notice whether it grows thinner or larger, notice the change in position, if any.

Since the moon’s orbit is regular and predictable around the earth, hence the moon is a very predictable entity.

2. Watching the Sun

Watching the sun allows you to get an insight into the directions as the sun rises from the east and sets in the west. However, you should never look at the sun directly as it may cause severe harm to your eyes.

Notice the slight differences that take place, such as the rising and setting point. Notice if the path of the sun from east to west changes in a day? Does the rising and setting position change according to the seasons?

3. Use Charts

Using charts to mark the daily changes taking place in the sky will keep you hooked to it. They will act as an engaging tool.

You can even use printed charts which are easily available on the internet, that way it will be easier and more impressive.

You can easily note down the changes you spot in the sky daily and evaluate the chart at the end of the month. This way you’ll be fascinated by the sky and its natural drift of course.

4. Avoid Buying a Telescope Right Now

You can easily enjoy the night view with your binoculars, you don’t have to mandatorily buy a telescope and look for little constellations.

You can pick up your binoculars and with the help of it try to locate the constellation – Big Dipper. The key to locating is that it’s second, the last star is two stars.

If you’re in a dark location look through your binoculars and try to spot some hazy patches. These patches might be clouds of dust or had where new stars might be taking form.

5. Notice a Pattern

Stargazers use a trick to spot constellations and try to make some patterns out of them through a systematic approach. You can use the same method, you need to find a pattern in a cluster of stars and then look nearby to find another pattern.

Notice the stars taking different kinds of geometrical shapes like triangles, curves, and even straight lines.

6. Tie-up with Astronomy Friends!

Befriend people who seem equally interested in stargazing and astronomy as you. Look out for clubs and societies related to astronomy if you are a school or college-going student.

You can also look out for a few groups on Facebook to find like-minded people.

Tools and Equipment You Need

There is one obvious thing you need to continue with stargazing – Telescope! However, you can also use binoculars in its place. But the things do not remain confined till here, they get bigger and the list will slightly increase once you reach down.

Things that you would require for stargazing are:

1.     Telescope

A good quality telescope is necessary for stargazing and people should consider buying it from well-known and reputed brands only.

Beginners will have to choose from four types of telescopes which are reflectors, refractors, Dobs onian, and hybrid.

One of the best telescopes for purchasing includes Celestron Astro Fi 102. It’s easy to use, assemble, and can be controlled using your mobile or tablet too. Apart from stars, you can even find planets like Venus, Saturn, and Mars with this telescope.

2.     Astronomy Binoculars

If you wish to start from a portable structure that you can carry easily, then Astronomy Binoculars are just the thing you need.

Astronomy Binoculars are very different from normal binoculars and serve a specific purpose.

They are easily available online. To choose binoculars one has to do a lot of research and based on it go for it! You can also opt for the Orion binoculars. This product is quite expensive but offers clear and exciting views of the night sky.

3.     Software for Skywatching

People who are interested in stargazing and in observing the night sky often make up charts, printed or handmade to keep themselves engaged.

Many websites help you to spot constellations, stars, and planets easily. You can even install apps related to the same on your Android or iOS mobiles.

4.     Stargazing Accessories

Now that we have decided on our telescope/binoculars and all the technological facilities we might need, this is the time to get comfortable.

These accessories aren’t necessary at all but with their help, you’ll be able to focus and concentrate even more on the activity.

5.     Chair for Observing

If you’ve gone for a pair of Astronomy Binoculars then you should go easy on the chair choice. You can pick a reclining lawn chair also known as a lounger.

Whereas people with a telescope should consider buying a purpose-built astronomy chair. That seat slides down low and high according to your need. Some seats even have a padded backrest.

6.     Folding Table for Camp

These stargazing accessories are a lot many things to handle. Handling your charts, your binoculars, and the food you might be eating will prove to be unmanageable at times.

To ease you out of this situation, you can buy your folding camping table which will facilitate and which will help you to manage your things in a better way.

7.     Red Flashlight

While you’re busy stargazing at night, you will need a source of light to focus upon the chart or a planet finder and food that you might have carried with you to the rooftop.

This is not a mandatory astronomy tool but it will facilitate your experience at stargazing and will allow you to give your wholehearted focus to the process.

Also, wearing a red-colored flashlight is very easy and manageable as one can wear it on their forehead and carry it with ease. You can purchase red flashlights specifically for stargazing purposes on Amazon.

8.     Portable Power

Portable Power is essential for the telescope’s battery as it is an unwritten rule that the darker it is, the farther is a switchboard located.

Hence, it is always advised to carry a portable charger with you so that you don’t get to face any disturbances.

A battery that has a “lighter-style” power socket is the Orion Dynamo Power Tank. It is heavy but is believed to be worth the weight because it has a lot many features which make it the ideal battery type for a long-running telescope.

9.     Telescope Dust Cloak

You will not be using the telescope the whole day, so to keep it safe from dust and other dust particles present in the air you should buy a dust cloak.

This will help to keep your telescope clean and will also prevent its see-through mirror from getting dirty.

Here are some other things you might need on a cold night when you go stargazing:

  • Socks

Waiting for the perfect moment might turn out to be too long so on the cold nights to get a warm feel, you must carry your warm socks with you to the terrace.

  • Mobile Phone

You might need your mobile phone too as it will help you to call somebody if something goes awry. Also, you’ll have to ensure that your phone is charged fully so that it does not run out of battery.

  • Gloves

With a pair of warm socks, make sure to keep a pair of gloves in handy too! On cold nights your hands might turn stiff due to the atmosphere and you will require a warm pair of gloves.

So, when deciding to go on the terrace on a cold night, make sure you carry your gloves and socks with you!

  • A belt pack

You can even use a small-sized bag to carry all the things safely to the stargazing point.

It will make the procedure of carrying the things to the terrace easy and very manageable.

  • Thermos

If you often get sleepy at night but still long to observe the night sky through your telescope or binoculars then you should consider carrying coffee with you.

You will require a thermos to keep your coffee warm and fresh. You could take any warm beverage which serves you with pleasure and a sense of satisfaction.

Tips to Get The Best Stargazing Experience

Stargazing acts like therapy for some people. It is believed to be the easiest and the most beautiful way to get close to nature and enjoy its beauty. To relish this process in an even better manner, we have come up with some tips.

So, compiled below is a short list wherein we’ll provide you with some of the best-known tips to gain the best experience out of stargazing!

  • Stargazing is best experienced before the moon comes out in its full shape. So, make sure to keep a check on the phases of the moon.
  • The night sky changes constantly and does not remain fixed in any one position. So, try to gaze at the sky through different locations in every new season. Switch your stargazing positions every year.
  • Download apps like Star Walk and Google Sky from Apple and Android respectively so that you get an insight about which stars are you looking at.
  • Make sure you turn off all the lights in your house to reduce light pollution.
  • Look out for different kinds of constellations and try to notice the patterns between them.
  • Look at the moon and its structure and try to understand its body through the telescope. However, if you wish to look into the sun then avoid looking at it directly or through a telescope. You should use a pinhole viewer to project the sun’s image.

Final Thoughts

Stargazing in its entirety is a fun thing to do, you can even gaze at the stars directly through your eyes or if you so wish then you can take the help of a telescope. It leaves an impact on the viewer’s mind and heart and leads them to a world of fascination.

As for someone who wishes to engage in stargazing and take it up as their profession, we have tried to provide you with all the necessary things a beginner would require.