Astronomy and Camping

One of the highlights of camping has long been the much loved pastime of stargazing. Today camping has become one of the only ways to get a clear look at the heavens. Light pollution from cities has made it impossible to stargaze from the backyards of most homes. The next time you go camping, make sure you give the night sky more than just a passing glance.

One of the best ways to stargaze while camping is the simplest, simply looking up into the heavens with the naked eye. You don’t need to know the names of the constellations or even what to look for. In fact, before you learn about astronomy it’s a good idea to go camping and just stargaze. See what you see in the stars. What shapes do they form for you? It can be fun to make up your own constellations and lore to go with them. Get everyone who is camping with you to spot their own constellation, name it, and then make up a story to go with it.

Then you can all gather around the campfire and share your own constellations. Camping is a great time to let your imagination run wild and this is a great opportunity. If you do know about the different constellations and the lore behind them, then point them out to the others in your camping party. Before you leave home go online and see what constellations will be most visible while you’re camping. Pick a campsite with a clearing that will work well for stargazing.

If you are camping at a campground with many campsites, then hike to a clearing and wait for the sun to set. However, be sure you bring a flashlight to find your way back! Also make sure you know what wildlife is around. In some areas it may be too dangerous to be away from your campsite at night. If you have studied astronomy before your camping trip, then try to look up at the stars and see them as the ancient Greeks and Romans did. Imagine what they must have thought about the heavens. For a minute just forget what you know and explore the possibilities.

If you want to take astronomy more seriously while camping then bring a telescope with you. Today there are telescopes to fit every budget, but remember that you are taking it camping so it shouldn’t be too delicate. You can schedule your camping trip around times when certain planets will be most visible or when certain constellations will be out. If you haven’t used a telescope before, make sure you learn how to use it before going camping. Camping in the dark is not the best time to try and figure out how to work your telescope. Whether you use a telescope or the naked eye, camping is a great opportunity to see the stars.

Stargazing gives a great opportunity to ponder on life. For instance, think about the fact that while you’re camping you’re seeing the stars as they were years ago, some even millions of years ago! Whether you are camping with kids or adults, stargazing is one of the best camping activities you can plan.