Guides

The COVE™ Guide to Stargazing

June 11, 2020
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Stargazing is a free and fulfilling hobby that constantly changes. It helps with inspiration and imagination and aids in the relief of stress.

It can be enjoyed by people of all ages in any part of the world and can strengthen your connection to nature.

With plenty of great celestial events coming up this summer, we’ve compiled the COVE™ Guide to Stargazing to help you take it all in.

Equipment Needed
telescope outdoors

Although it doesn’t cost anything to stare up into the night sky, there is plenty of equipment available to make your experience even more enjoyable.

The most common piece of gear that people think of when it comes to stargazing is a telescope. Thankfully this doesn’t have to be a large expense anymore, with a variety of tabletop telescopes starting well below $100. As you gain experience you may want to upgrade to a more advanced model, but it certainly isn’t a necessity.

Most telescopes also come with low and high-power eyepieces. Become familiar with both before experimenting with filters or Barlow lenses.

You can’t truly explore the stars without a finderscope, but many telescopes come with one already. If you’re looking to take things to the next level, try upgrading to a red dot finder designed exclusively for astronomy.

Cell phones are also highly useful when it comes to stargazing providing plenty of astronomy apps such as SkyPortal and SkyView.

A red flashlight can be used to preserve your night vision during your stargazing session while a bright white one will make cleaning up far more simple. If you have a computerized telescope, most external power supplies have these flashlights built-in.

A good pair of binoculars can give you another great perspective on the cosmos and provide some added entertainment when you’re not looking through the eyepiece of your telescope.

Once you’ve got everything you need for your stargazing experience, grab friends and family and head outside to the yard or a local park and get set up! Don’t forget to bring some snacks and other sources of entertainment such as music if you’ve planned a lengthy session.

Eclipses
solar eclipse

Solar and lunar eclipses are frequently occurring astronomical events that most people are already familiar with. An eclipse is when the sun or moon is blocked from the viewpoint of an Earth observer.

The next lunar eclipse viewable in North America will occur at 11:07PM EST on July 4th and will last for almost three hours.

You can get a full list of upcoming eclipses here. Make sure not to look directly at a solar eclipse without proper protective eyewear.

Meteor Showers
meteor shower

A meteor shower is when Earth encounters many meteoroids at once causing glowing streaks in the sky.

To observe one you don’t need a telescope or binoculars, but you may require an alarm clock to wake you up in the middle of the night.

The June Boötids are a meteor shower occurring every year between June 22nd and July 2nd, with its usual peak happening on June 27th.

Enjoy this cosmic event without any fancy equipment this Summer.

Constellations
constellations

A constellation is an area on the celestial sphere that forms a perceived pattern such as an animal, mythological character, or inanimate object.

Their origins go all the way back to prehistory, but the 12 constellations in the zodiac such as Libra, Virgo, Capricorn, and Aquarius will surely sound familiar.

Many people also know of the Big Dipper, which isn’t actually its own constellation, but seven bright stars of Ursa Major.

There are other interesting patterns in the sky as well, such as asterisms. One of the easiest to spot during June in the Northern Hemisphere is the famous Summer Triangle consisting of the stars Deneb, Vega, and Altair.

Much like meteor showers, many constellations can be observed with the naked eye if you know where to look, but they might be better enjoyed using a telescope or binoculars.

Lunar Phases
lunar phases

As the moon orbits the earth there are eight distinct lunar phases in total. They’re ordered new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent.

The cycle repeats itself once per month (every 29.5 days) and you can keep track of the phases using a lunar calendar or calculator.

You don’t need a telescope to see the different phases of the moon, but a closer look never hurts.

The night sky is filled with all the wonders of the cosmos. Feast your eyes on some wonderful night time scenery with these upcoming events and if you capture any photos share your favourite shots with us on Instagram @covecrafted.

 

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