MUST HAVE GADGETS FOR STARGAZERS
Getting away from the bright lights of the city and gazing up at the night’s sky is an enchanting and mystical experience. But long gone are the days when astronomers and stargazers simply used a telescope. The advent of better technology has led to a whole host of gadgets designed to help you get the most out of your time under the night sky. These are my recommended gadgets for examining the cosmos.
A STARGAZING APP
Apps these days are bringing astronomy to the masses. You no longer need expensive telescopes and books to know exactly what you are looking at. Anybody can just get out of the city and point their smartphone up to the night sky for a detailed map of the constellations and planets.
Once you have whet your appetite with a stargazing app and have been bitten by the bug, you can invest in a telescope and really delve deeper, but for beginners finding their feet, a good stargazing app should be the first port of call.
Telescopes are awesome for giving you an up-close view of our stars, but for something a little more portable, there are also binoculars. You can use normal binoculars, but specifically designed astronomy binoculars will give you the best results. These are usually “porro prisms” instead of “roof prisms”. They often have a sharper focus and light-transmission properties.
You can choose to go for binoculars instead of a telescope altogether. Some brands offer larger models which are mounted on a tripod. These offer the same magnification as telescopes, but they don’t have the same level of portability enjoyed by smaller binoculars.
NIGHT VISION FLASHLIGHT
When you are out at night, you will need a flashlight to read your maps or make your coffee. Normal camping flashlights disrupt your eyes when you turn them on and it can take up to 20 minutes for your eyes to readjust to the darkness. Many astrologers believe that their eyes don’t become fully acclimated to the darkness until an hour into their stargazing session. This can be ruined by looking at a flashlight or a phone and your eyes will need to adjust all over again. A night vision flashlight emits a red light which won’t disrupt your eyes and can be bought fairly cheaply.
You can buy electric warming strips to go around the front objective, primary mirror, focuser area and finder scope to stop dew from gathering. When dew fully sets in they can’t do much, but as it arrives these powerful heat strips can give you an extra 30 or 40 minutes viewing time.
Do you have any tips for getting a better view of the night sky you can share with everyone? There must be more than this, surely! Help and add something that can really help those who love to watch the stars! Add comments or become a contributor.