Astronomer's Guide to Stargazing

Stargazing is a really enjoyable thing to do so buckle up astronomers, this is going to be fun!

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Safety first!

This is the most important part of every trip so make sure you read these three points before you get cracking:
  • Never look directly at the Sun. The Sun is very powerful and could seriously damage your eyes if you were to look directly at it. If you want to see what a fascinating star it is then get yourself a pair of safety checked solar viewing glasses or use a telescope with a solar filter. You can also use a pinhole projection to see what the Sun is up to, so there are plenty of safe options!
  • Never go out observing alone. It doesn't matter if you live in the middle of the countryside or a city centre, being out alone is not safe so be sure to take a parent or guardian with you. You never know, they might catch the astronomy bug too and come with you to all sorts of exciting places to take astronomy photographs.
  • Wear suitable clothing. Winter is a great time for us to see lots of fantastic things in the night sky. The only thing is it can get very cold, particularly if you are out for a long time. Make sure you wear the right clothing to keep you nice and toasty so you don’t have to cut your observing session short.

When is the best time to go stargazing?
It depends what you want to see. You could plan a trip during the day if you want to look at the Moon or at night if you want to go looking at the Moon as well as stars, planets and even galaxies.

Can I stargaze from anywhere?
Yes absolutely! You can stargaze: on holiday, at school, from your garden, with your science club and even on the way home from school. If you live in the countryside the sky will be nice and dark so it is easy to see things in the sky. If you are in the city like us astronomers here at the Royal Observatory Greenwich though don’t panic; we stargaze from the middle of London all the time and still see lots of amazing sights. All you have to do is look up.

What equipment do I need?
It depends what you want to look for. Your eyes are perfect for looking at the Moon, stars and even planets; you really don’t need anything more to find some of the most well-known stellar signposts. If you want to look for things like galaxies or at anything up a little closer, then a pair of binoculars or a telescope will be handy.

I have no idea where to look for things in the sky, help!
Don’t worry, we have made lots of things to help you out including a starter guide on the Silver badge page here. If you are looking for even more ideas then why not take a look at -
  • Look Up Podcasts – these are great if you are trying to get your bearings and find where things will be in the sky and when. Check them out here.
  • Looking For Jupiter – this is one of our many videos that will help you look for one of the most beautiful planets, Jupiter. It introduces you to a fantastic free programme you can download called Stellarium. This allows you to enter your location, date and time you want to go observing and see exactly what will be in the night sky. Click here for more details.
  • Daytime Moon View – these guides will show you how to plan a daytime Moon viewing session. Click here to take a look.

Happy Stargazing!
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yash says...
oh wow i really liked the photo on the page
7 months ago