The nights of Autumn, Winter and Spring present you the best experience of stargazing. Therefore, they are often referred to as an “observing season”. Because you can observe the objects more clearly in these seasons. Especially, the days of the new moon phase are the best for enjoying the faintest objects. But if you want to experience the mesmerizing moonlight, choose the nights of the full moon.
Stargazing is enjoyable all year. Either it's a moonlight night or a dark night with dim stars, the aura of the night sky gets you inner peace. It lets you forget your daily chaos. Lets you have some me time. So, never ever hesitate to go stargazing just because it's not the best time. It's not the office or school that you need to maintain time. What matters most is whether you are enjoying stargazing or not.
It's just that, picking out the best times of stargazing lets you have more amazing views than the usual times. Moreover, if you intend to learn about the sky objects while enjoying, choosing those specific times will let you have a clearer observation.
- Which Season is the Best for Stargazing?
- What are the Best Conditions for Stargazing?
- Which Moon Phase is the Best to Stargaze?
- Should You Bring Your Telescope for Stargazing?
Which Season is the Best for Stargazing?
Winter is the best season to go stargazing. The less hazy moisture of winter air keeps the sky clearest. Moreover, you get to enjoy stargazing for longer as the winter nights are the longest nights of the year. But Autumn and Spring are more popular for stargazing because of the comfortable weather with clear and dark sky.
Winter: the perfect season for a sharper view while stargazing
In winter, the sky stays clearer and darker for a long time. That is perfect for enjoying the amazing views of the night sky.
The less hazy moisture of the air, makes the sky clear and lets you see sharper views. Moreover, this season has shorter days and longer nights and so the sky gets fully dark before midnight. The dark and long nights give you a sharper and brighter view of the sky objects for a longer time. Besides, you get to see many wonderful constellations in winter.
Winter is a great time for enjoying stargazing with all the family members. As it gets dark early in that time, you can enjoy it without worrying about kids' school.
Autumn and Spring: specially popular seasons for stargazing
Winter nights do give the sharpest views but it is difficult to go stargazing in many regions in winter because of bone-chilling cold weather. Unlike winter, autumn and spring have warmer weather. That is why, spring and autumn are popular seasons for stargazing in general.
The length of day and night is almost equal in autumn and spring and so the sky gets dark in the early evening. Also, both of the seasons have wonderful constellations. All this makes autumn and spring suitable for stargazing. So, if you do not find winter nights fit for your body, then autumn and spring can be options for you.
Summer: the season with least opportunities of stargazing
Many people, especially students, plan to go stargazing during their summer vacations. If you are also planning to go stargazing during summer, then there are some things that you need to know. Of course stargazing is enjoyable anytime of the year. But sadly, there are lesser opportunities of stargazing in summer for observing more faint objects.
As you know, summer has long days and short nights. During this season, the sky does not get dark soon after sunset and so you need to wait till late to start. Also, the sky gets lighter earlier before sunrise which will force you to wrap up early . Thus less night hours of summer reduces stargazing opportunities.
Besides, balmy summer air holds more hazy moisture than the other seasons which absorbs the light of the objects. The high humidity of summer results in poor transparency. Nevertheless, if your schedule is only free in summer, then try to choose a comparatively long dark night when the weather is less warm.
What are the Best Conditions for Stargazing?
The best conditions for stargazing is a dark,dry and cloudless sky with good astronomical seeing and transparency. Astronomical seeing and transparency basically refers to the steady and clear image of the objects. The more good the seeing and transparency is, the more sharp and clear views you get to enjoy.
A cloudy sky or low transparency and seeing might leave you disappointed while stargazing. So, check the conditions of the weather first. Do not depend on local weather news only. Check the astronomical weather forecast for more accurate information.
Clear sky: a must for stargazing
A clear sky is the first thing to look for in a weather forecast before planning a stargazing. A cloudy sky conceals the objects and hampers observation. It would be very disappointing to see clouds only when you were expecting a marvellous starry night.
Transparency: clarity of atmospheric condition to stargaze
In astronomy, transparency is the clarity of the atmosphere, especially the condition of the sky. Lesser moisture and dust in the atmosphere refers to better transparency. Less humidity means good transparency. Transparency is usually best in winter, average in autumn and spring and poor in summer.
Seeing: the steadiness of atmosphere to go stargazing
Astronomical seeing is the steadiness of the astronomical objects. It mainly refers to the proportion of the twinkling of the sky objects. Though it is enjoyable to see the twinkling of the stars, it makes the views too blurry to observe. When the seeing is poor, you won't be able to observe the sky objects thoroughly even if you focus on them with a telescope.
Which Moon Phase is the Best to Stargaze?
If you want to stargaze the fainter deep sky objects, the new moon phase is the best. Constellations and milky ways have a brighter view during this phase. Whereas, to enjoy moonlight, the full moon phase is the best.
Both of the phases let you enjoy different sights. But sadly you can't enjoy both of them at a time. But how about enjoying them both at different times? Yes, go stargazing in a full moon light. Also, pick out the night with the new moon. In this way, though at different times, enjoy both.
New moon phase: the best time to stargaze deeper objects
New moon phase is the time when the sun and the moon are aligned. This alignment means at that time the moon is invisible in the night sky. Now, you must be thinking, what does a new moon have to do with stargazing?
Well, as the moon is invisible in the night sky, the sky stays darkest. Those darkest sky nights of the new moon phase, let you see even the dimmer objects of the sky.
Whereas, moonlight washes out many deep sky objects. Even a slim moon is enough to submerge the glow of dimmer stars.
Full moon: the phase flooded with mesmerizing moonlight
The view of a full moon itself is very enjoyable. This becomes more enjoyable when the full moon appears in different colours at different times. If you are looking for a view flooded with moonlight, then the full moon is the phase for you.
It is enjoyable even with naked eye. Nevertheless, using a telescope to see the moon will give you an experience of detailed viewing. You can see the craters, mountains and much more.
But for stargazing deeper objects in the sky, moonlight often becomes a stumbling block. A full moon blocks out the light of fainter stars leaving the brightest ones only. As a result, it becomes more difficult to see constellations during this phase. Furthermore, you mostly can not see the milky way when a full moon is there.
Should You Bring Your Telescope for Stargazing?
It is not compulsory to bring a telescope for stargazing. Start with naked eyes. Then use binoculars to enjoy more. Later on, you might want to get your telescope. Because a telescopic view would definitely give you a sharper and detailed view.
Grab your coat. Lie down in your garden. Observe everything you see. Make a stargazing log of your own. Write down your thoughts, imaginations, ideas. Make your own constellations. Add a little more time and a little more observation every day. Enjoy a little more every day.
So, what are you waiting for? Start today!