The night sky, the deepest darkest black with a myriad of white pinpoints of light. Like billions of tiny diamonds, the stars above stretch out before us as we lay on the ground below them. My honey snuggles closer to keep warm as we silently take in the beauty that is painted on the Heavens above.
One of the joys that make camping so special for me is being able to go stargazing while camping. Because of where we live in the suburbs, the city lights tend to overpower the natural beauty of the stars in the night sky. Sure, you can see some constellations, but honestly not many.
So when we get to go camping we really love the fact that we can take in all the splendor that nature provides in it’s panoramic backdrop of the night’s sky. It never ceases to amaze me just how many more stars are visible away from all these city lights.
One thing that we like to do is to spread an old blanket out on the ground a little distance away from our campfire. Then we lay down and get comfortable. Looking straight up at all those stars winking and twinkling back down at you can get you thinking.
You realize just how small we are compared to the universe. The distances are truly immense. The light that is reaching us now, has taken billions of years to get here from wherever it started from. Certainly puts a new perspective on your sense of time doesn’t it?
And if you believe as some people do, that life exists on other planets, you begin to wonder if someone is doing the exact same thing and looking at the night sky. Possible?
Regardless, stargazing while camping can still offer up an amazing show from time to time. Often, you can be treated to meteorite showers bursting through the night sky. Nature’s silent fireworks display. And if you get truly lucky, you may even see a passing satellite or two winging their way around the world.
Part of the fun in star gazing is learning about and identifying the multitude of constellations. One site that I found, www.astroviewer.com, has an interactive menu that allows you to find and identify the constellations visible in your part of the world on a real time basis. You can use their site or even download some software directly to your computer. Cool!
Many of the star formations have stories attached to them harkening back to days of old when our ancestors looked to the skies to find meaning and understanding. After all, the stars are pretty impressive. This site, www.tcoe.org, well actually it is a pdf, explains the background of the constellations and their names.
If you really get into your star gazing while camping, you might even consider getting a telescope to get a better view. But be forewarned! You get what you pay for with a telescope like anything in life. There is a great primer on what to look for and what to expect in a beginners telescope at rocketroberts.com.
But for us, putting that old blanket on the ground and staring up at the stars is more than enough. It’s fun and relaxing, but I really need to think about getting one of those reclining outdoor lounge chairs. That ground is getting harder to lay on-LOL!