Stargazing and Watching the Night Sky

January 6, 2016

Most kids are amazed at the moon, but stars are left to science fiction and ‘documentaries’.  You can see a lot more than you may think, and finding stars is an activity you can do with your kids…

Watching the night sky

Unfortunately in the UK, the night sky is often covered by cloud, or obscured by bright lights from towns or cities. However, if you get out in the countryside, perhaps when you’re camping or on a microadventure, you can actually see a phenomenal amount of stars with just your eyes.

It’s a fun activity that you can do with your kids.

We are no experts at stargazing by any means, but we’ve pulled together some useful resources to help you get outside and look at the night sky together as a family.

Useful resources for Stargazing

Useful App for Stargazing

As with most things, you can find an app for just about anything these days.

Milky Way App Screenshot
One we have been using is The Milky Way app.

This works better on a larger screen like an iPad.

It uses the iPad’s sensors to work out our position. You can then hold the iPad up to the sky and it will show you the stars and map out the constellations.

You can hover over a particular star and get more details on it.

One of the features we really love is that it can also use your device’s camera so when you hold your device up to the sky you can see exactly what’s in the night sky with all the information displayed on the actual night sky you are watching.

Equipment for Seeing More

Obviously, a telescope is the first thing that may spring to mind, however you can also use binoculars to see more than with just the naked eye.

You will need to wait around 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark.

Personally one of the favourite tools I have is using a DSLR camera. With this type of camera you can set it up to take the picture for longer, and so it captures more light from the night sky.

This is something I’m still practicing with, but watch this video to see just what can be done. You really get the sense that the Earth is flying through space.

More Stargazing Ideas

With put a Pinterest board together where you can find more ideas for stargazing with your kids.

Stargazing Party
I particularily like this idea from Spaceships and Laserbeams for turning it into a stargazing party.

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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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