Top stargaz­ing tips

Getaway (South Africa) - - Gear -

• Don’t rush out to buy a tele­scope as they can frus­trate be­gin­ners. Rather ac­quaint your­self with the night sky first and get to know a few plan­ets and con­stel­la­tions. Star maps, sky guides, apps and as­tron­omy clubs are ex­tremely help­ful. • Know when to look and track lu­nar events. The sky is best on clear win­ter nights when there’s no hu­mid­ity in the air. Moon­less nights (or nights close to new moon) are also best. • Know the dif­fer­ence be­tween plan­ets and stars. If a bright light in the sky twin­kles, it’s a star. If an object is much brighter than those around it, it’s probably a planet. • Turn on the red light if you want to re­fer to a map or book while stargaz­ing (or find your mug of Milo). A small pen­light or red light (put a fil­ter on your torch) won’t in­ter­fere with your night vi­sion. It takes 30 min­utes for one’s eyes to fully adapt to the night sky – and a mo­ment of bright light to negate that adap­ta­tion. • Be pa­tient be­cause, as you’ve probably heard, the uni­verse is pretty big. This means find­ing ob­jects can be tricky. Re­mem­ber, the search is part of the fun.

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