How to get stargazing
In Broken Hill we are blessed with lovely dark skies that seemingly go on forever. Stargazing here is easy. Just get into the backyard and start looking. Our coordinates are 31.9567 degrees South and 141.4678 degrees East. This is a perfect location for viewing.
If I was to give suggestions about how to start stargazing to a city person who is surrounded by light pollution, I would say get out of the city!
Next time you go on a road trip, take these things with you:
- a fold up chair
- a torchlight – use a rubber band or some string to cover the white light with some red cellophane
- a basic sky map – you can search online for a “sky map” and you should be able to download a PDF and print it, free of charge – ensure your map is marked up for the Southern Hemisphere
- a pair of binoculars if you have some – any you use for sport or bird-watching will do in this situation – you’ll learn later how be fussy!
- a compass – get an old fashioned one from a camping store – so that you can find South; don’t use a phone or tablet app as you will ruin the darkness
Find your location in a quiet spot, free of tall trees and buildings. Allow 15 minutes or so to adjust to the night and then use your red torch to look at your compass and your map. If you know nothing else, it’s the place to start. Quite soon, you will recognise the brightest stars in the sky and you will be able to locate them on your sky map.
It’s that simple.