Stargazing tips and tricks
Winter is a fantastic time of the year to star-gaze. As the sun sets earlier - families, particular youngsters, can take advantage of darker skies earlier. It's time to learn all of the secrets as the heavens above reveal themselves. Grab a cup of cocoa, sit back and relax as we teach you what to look out for. Lets start exploring!
- Keeping warm.
A Peake Dome's magnificent glass panel not only opens up the interior to beautiful landscapes and vistas, it's also a perfect place to gaze up at the stars in comfort and warmth. Having said that, being outdoors is also a great place to spot stars. Make sure to keep warm, with plenty of thick clothing and something nice and warm to drink.
- Adjusting to the dark
When spotting stars, comets and meteors it's important that you make the outside area as dark as possible. For the more adventurous, there are maps available which show areas of the UK that are the best for stargazing. Here are two good places to start:
When arriving in your chosen area, NASA recommends giving your eyes time to adjust to the darkness. Put away any mobile phones or devices which emit light, as you want to let your eyes relax. For more tips you can find NASA's guidelines here (https://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/watchtheskies/perseid-meteor-shower-aug11-12.html).
- Seeing in the dark
Binoculars or a telescope make great tools for spotting far away distant objects and nebulae. However, in most situations your eyes and a clear night is all you need. Celestial events occur all year round. Check the out our astronomical calendar for important dates here:
November 4-5, 2017 South Taurids
November 11-12, 2017 North Taurids
November 17 or 18, 2017 Leonids
December 13-14, 2017 Geminids
January 3-4, 2018 Quadrantids Meteor Shower
January 31st, 2018 Total Lunar Eclipse
February 15th, 2018 Partial Solar eclipse
April 22-23, 2018 - Lyrids Meteor Shower
May 6-7, 2018 - Eta Aquarids
July 13, 2018 - Partial Solar Eclipse
July 27, 2018 - Total Lunar Eclipse
July 28-29, 2018 - Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower
August 11, 2018 - Partial Solar Eclipse
August 12-13, 2018 - Perseids Meteor Shower
There are a number of apps available on your smartphone. Augmented reality apps are a great way to view the sky using your phone as a view finder. Simply download, point the app at the sky and spot constellations, planets, satellites and sometimes, even clouds of intergalactic dust. Some of our recommended apps are:
- Sky guide (http://www.fifthstarlabs.com/) / iOS
- Star Chart (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.escapistgames.starchart) / Android
Happy star hunting and don't forget to wish upon a shooting star!