Star Gazing is one of the best experineces you can have out there.The night sky is like a giant puzzle. Hidden among the thousands of stars you can find dozens of constellations. You can also search for individual stars and planets. When was the last time you saw countless stars ? Challenge here is to first find a place dark enough for Stars to be visible .With invention of electricity and high luminous lights we have caused enough light pollution that we can hardly see any stars during night . Finding a dark sky would be tough but not impossible . Lets find out how to find dark skies around you .
Brightness during night is measured by Brotle scale . The Bortle scale (also known as the Bottle scale) is a nine-level numeric scale that measures the night sky's brightness of a particular location. It quantifies the astronomical observability of celestial objects and the interference caused by light pollution. John E. Bortle created the scale and published it in the February 2001 edition of Sky & Telescope magazine to help amateur astronomers evaluate the darkness of an observing site, and secondarily, to compare the darkness of observing sites. The scale ranges from Class 1, the darkest skies available on Earth, through to Class 9, inner-city skies.
Light Pollution Map
Now that we know what Bortle scale lets find out how to know the Bortle value of a place . For this we have several sites that help with this info and lightpollutionmap.info is one such site that will show light pollution of a give area. It is like an interactive map where you can zoom in to a place and drop a pin and it will show brotle value of that place . If the value of that place is between 1 to 4 you have found your spot .
Now that you have found the place to star gaze how do you navigate the sky ? How to know what is the name of the star you are looking at or how to find Scorpio Constellation in sky or find the Ursa Major ? Whether the Super Pink Moon in April kickstarted your love of astronomy, or you want to be prepared by the time the Perseids meteor shower rolls around during warmer weather, you should start with having a star gazing map or app .Like how we had road maps and google maps in recent times we have skymaps and few phone apps to help with . Lets find out more about them
Equivalent to how we use road maps to navigate land there are sky maps to navigate through stars in sky . skymaps.com will release a PDF of night sky every month and you and take a printout and find use major know objects (pole star, moon etc) in sky as pointer and navigate around
Night Sky Apps
There are lot of apps that help navigate night sky . These night sky apps are like a planetarium in your pocket.They use gps to pinpoint your location and Most of the time, all you have to do is point them at the night sky, and they'll demystify what's in front of you, be it stars, planets, constellations, or man-made objects like satellites or the International Space Station. Many of them can even alert you to the upcoming celestial events, so you'll never miss another Super Moon again . I personally use skyview lite which is a free version
Next time when you're on a trip try to find a dark sky around you and star gaze over night and once you do that the experience is superior !!! . Let me know if this blog helped you to give better experience during your travel .