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How To Stargaze Like A Pro

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Aabiya Noman Baqai

Writer and Editor at Destination Jeddah
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Sahrish

Cat at Destination Jeddah

Stargazing

Stargazing is the perfect hobby for anyone who’s looked up at the night sky and marveled at the wonder above.

When:

  • Clear, dry night with a subtle breeze
  • Moon-less night is you want to avoid the glare of the moonlight for your telescope
  • Moon-full night if that’s a part of your stargazing experience
    You can check whether the conditions are good for stargazing here: Weather Update

Where:

  • Suburbs or small cities
  • Rural areas without lights
  • Outskirts of the city like Moon Valley, Bahra Desert etc.

Things needed/Preps:

  • Warm clothes: A jacket, cardigan, long pants, long sleeved shirt, and layers depending on the night temperature.
  • Flashlight
  • Bug Repellant
  • Observation Furniture: Folding/Reclining Chair, Picnic Rug, Blanket
  • Backpack
  • Equipment:
    • Binoculars and Telescope: Available at Toys R Us and Online Saudi Souq
    • Compass
    • Star Chart/Map
    • Camera
    • Snacks and Drinks

Whom To Go With:

Identifying constellations and clusters in the night sky can be a rewarding yet humbling experience. Apart from a dark night sky (far from city lights), a sky map might prove useful and for extra visual aide, a pair of binoculars and/or a telescope.

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Here is where you can download a Skymap

Sky guide apps are also useful and full of informative stuff about outer space. One of the best sky guide apps is Skyguide, which is available to download for both iOS and Android. Sky Guide functions without a Wi-Fi, data, or GPS signal. In the classroom, camping or overseas, everything is always at your fingertips. If you want to learn day, Sky Guide is the best app to do it with.

The planets are a favorite among stargazers.  The two planets closer to the sun, Mercury and Venus, appear bright and fast moving in the sky.  You’ll usually see them around sunrise or sunset.

Recognizing different stars takes some training. Try to become familiar with one group of stars at a time. One group easy to identify is Orion due to its unique shape. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, Scorpion is also another group that’s easy to familiarize yourself with.

Look Out For:

May 14 – International Astronomy Day.

An annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. The theme of Astronomy Day is “Bringing Astronomy to the People,” and on this day astronomy and stargazing clubs and other organizations around the world will plan special events.

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