Ever find yourself looking to the shimmering, starry night sky wanting to learn more about what cosmos and constellations are above you? Astronomy can be an expensive hobby, but the good news is you don’t need a telescope to enjoy the night sky! Our space experts here at Orlando Science Center have compiled the best stargazing tips for beginners, so you can enjoy the stars and constellations above.
If you find that you can’t get enough of stargazing, head to Orlando Science Center to peer through telescopes on the terrace* during Science After Sundown on Fridays and Saturday evenings through August 10. Additionally, from November 8 to February 22 you can enjoy the observatory* and telescopes during Star-Studded evenings!
- Star Finder App –If you are unfamiliar with navigating the night sky, you’ll want to bring a star finder app to assist. There are several options available for both iOS and Android like Star Walk, Sky Guide, or even Google Sky Map. If you are serious about learning the sky, you may also want to consider printing out some star maps and learning how navigate by hand. You’ll be able to familiarize yourself in not time!
- Red Flashlight – If you’ve ever been to our observatory, you probably noticed that we only use red light when stargazing. Red light is the lowest energy form of visible light and so allows us to keep our night vision intact, therefore allowing us to see the sky in more detail. You can also change the display on your phone to show red light so that you can use your device without sacrificing visibility. Click here for an inexpensive and highly reviewed red flashlight from Amazon, and if you’d like to help out Orlando Science Center at the same time, please consider using smile.amazon.com and making Orlando Science Center your preferred charity. By doing so, Amazon will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to support our engaging programs and exhibits.
- Chairs and Blankets – If you are going to be trekking to a dark area to stargaze, you may want to stay a while. So why not be comfortable? Make sure to bring some folding chairs or blankets so you can sit back and watch the sky for hours.
- Bottles of Water – Anywhere that is dark enough for sky viewing is likely not going to have a clean source of drinking water. You’ll want to bring some reusable bottles of water to stay hydrated. And maybe your favorite snacks! Remember, if you venture out into nature leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures and kill nothing but time. If you do bring snacks, remember to take the wrappers and any other trash home with you.
- Bug spray – Any time you are going to be outside for any significant length of time, you’ll definitely want to bring some bug spray. This is especially true in Florida and especially, especially true in summer.