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What Time Is Best for Stargazing? Tips for Beginners

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» Telescopes » What Time Is Best for Stargazing? Tips for Beginners

Watching the stars is a very enjoyable process that can meet your aesthetic and scientific needs. For many people, it can become a romantic date, while for others it can help with their scientific research. However, in order to observe the stars, you need to choose the right time of year and time of day, taking into account the many nuances that affect the visibility of stars in the sky. In this article, you will learn what is the best time to go stargazing, so as not to waste time in vain and get a positive experience only.


What Is the Best Time to Go Stargazing Guide

  1. Because summer nights are quite bright, stargazing is best done in the winter, autumn, or spring.
  2. Follow the phases of the moon. The best option would be the new moon.
  3. Begin the process of observing the stars after twilight and before dawn;
  4. Weather conditions are very important. First, there have to be no clouds in the sky and low humidity.

Best time of year for stargazing
If the cold and snow do not scare you, then the best time for stargazing will definitely be winter. This is the time of year when the air retains less hazy moisture compared to summer, which significantly increases the visibility of the stars. It also gets dark early in the winter and is a great opportunity to watch the stars with the whole family, including children. Another advantage is that many constellations are high in the sky at this time and can be observed even without a telescope. These include the Orion, Sirius, Cassiopeia constellations, and even the Andromeda Galaxy. If you plan to visit state and national parks, which are the best places to observe, then in winter there will be fewer people.

However, if you do not like winter weather, you can consider the option of autumn and spring. Because the sky is still dark enough to be visible compared to summer. The temperature and weather are much more comfortable than in winter. In addition, autumn is even called the observing season, and many stargazing events take place during October.

winter stargazing in the north

Best moon phase for stargazing

After dealing with the best time of year, you should also choose the right phase of the moon. If you are new to stargazing, you may think that the best time to stargaze is during the full moon phase. However, at this time the moon reflects a lot of light because it is much closer to Earth than other celestial objects. It is quite similar to watching the stars in a big city with strong night lighting. Because of the brightness of the moon, observing the stars will not be as effective as you would plan. Therefore, the best stargazing time is during the new moon phase and the days before and after the crescent phase. During this period, there is no moon in the morning and evening sky, allowing unobstructed observation of stars, and galaxies, seeing the Milky Way, etc.

During this period, the sky will be as dark as possible, and the moon will reflect the least amount of light obstacles. However, if you plan to observe large planets, or the moon itself, the full moon phase is best. But you need to make sure you have a lunar filter on your telescope.

What time of night is best for stargazing

Again, the most important criteria when choosing the time of night are the visibility of the stars and the maximum darkness of the sky. In general, you might start observing the stars an hour after sunset, when the twilight does not affect the observation process. In my experience, the best time has been from 1 am to around 4 am, as it starts to dawn later in most regions. However, if you have more free time, and you are at the beginning of your journey in stargazing, you can safely spend the whole night watching the stars from sunset to dawn. Then you will be able to figure out what is the best time to go stargazing in your location.

stargazing in the night milky way

Stargazing during a full moon

Sometimes events that can ruin stargazing, like a bright moon, occur. However, there are ways to still view the stars. For example, if a comet is in the sky, eventually the moon will move. Also, stargazing can be done before moonrise or after moonset for meteor showers that occur on the same day each year. If the moon is still an issue, try hiding it behind something so that its light doesn’t ruin the stargazing. Another way to stargaze during a bright moon is to take advantage of the situation and use the moonlight to photograph a stunning foreground landscape. It will also allow you to take lots of beautiful pictures of the stars and moon if you use the right camera.

FAQ on When to Go Stargazing

Сan you stargaze during the day?

The chances of stargazing with the naked eye are very low during the day. Among the few visible celestial objects are the Moon and the planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter. Also, it is possible to see the brightest stars of the first and second magnitudes if you have a telescope.

What weather is best for stargazing?

Weather plays no less a role in stargazing. The most important criterion is the cloudless sky, as well as transparency and seeing. Humidity should be low and the stability of the atmosphere on the contrary — high.

Is it true that if you are at the bottom of a well you can see stars in the daytime?

No, it’s just a legend. A simple well is not enough to turn a bright sunny sky into visible to the stars. This is due to the Earth’s atmosphere, which scatters sunlight everywhere. The amount of this scattered light during the day will far exceed the brightness of any other star.

Find the Best Time to View Stars

Watching the stars is an exciting process, but a wrongly chosen time can ruin it. That’s why you should consider the winter and autumn seasons when the visibility of the stars is best. Also, pay attention to the phase of the moon. And don’t forget about the weather, regardless of whether you use special accessories.

What is your favorite planet or constellation? Please share your best spots for stargazing.

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About Valery Johnson

Hi, I am Valery and I love nature, the universe and the starry sky. Together with my friend Michael we share our practical knowledge in the field of astronomy and nature observation. We also test different optical instruments to see the strengths and weaknesses of different models. Very often we travel around our country, so we have the opportunity to test optics in different conditions and different seasons. Welcome to Michael's and my blog and we hope you find useful and practical information for yourself.

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