I have always loved sitting outside and watching the sky. It was something that my late mother and I enjoyed together. Some of my fondest memories involve being under the night sky. Michael is more interested in the technicality of astronomy, while I enjoy sitting outside looking up. Whether I am alone or with some friends, it makes for a good time.
When you are in a dark sky site the vastness of space and the wonder of INFINITY is stunning. Sitting outside with a hot chocolate, a blanket and the dark quiet of the night is enough for me. It makes for a lovely time with Michael and friends. We have been to several “Star Parties” – these events are great if you enjoy astronomy but aren’t reading to spend a lot of cash on the gear – astronomy geeks are super excited to show you the universe and you can get a feel for what you and your other may be in for. Money, time, space to store said gear, and of course what kind of SPACE you want to be able to see.
The other hobby that can be involved with astronomy is photography. You don’t need a scope. You start where you are with what you have – I have even taken some fun shots with my smartphone. Astrophotography is a challenge, but honestly, if you have a decent camera and are willing to have some fun with it, you can do a lot of nightscape photography.
Some sites you might want to check out:
AstroBackYard – https://astrobackyard.com/7-astrophotography-tips/
Catching the Light – http://www.astropix.com/
Randy Halverson – http://dakotalapse.com/
Royce Bair – https://intothenightphoto.blogspot.com/
For more ideas check out :
We travel full-time, so we can pick up and go to a dark sky site and we have everything we need conveniently with us. There are still things you can take with you for a quick trip or a stargazing camping trip.
Some of the things I would not be without: a comfortable chair, a warm blanket, and a sturdy flashlight with a RED lamp setting.
You don’t want to be cold and uncomfortable and you will need a flashlight to get around and you want the light to be red so you don’t ruin your, or anyone else’s night vision.
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Some more sites you may want to check out:
Astronomical League – https://www.astroleague.org/
Clear Sky Chart – http://www.cleardarksky.com
Cloudy Nights – https://www.cloudynights.com/
Dark Site Finder – http://darksitefinder.com/map/
Hubble – http://hubblesite.org/
ISS tracker – https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/
Launch Schedule – https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/
Light Pollution Map – https://www.lightpollutionmap.info
Space.com – https://www.space.com
Sky & Telescope – https://www.skyandtelescope.com/
And if all of this doesn’t convince you that the night sky is absolutely worth your time — keep on the watch for my post about SOLAR observing.
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