The Wonders of Winter Stargazing
If you’ve ever heard the old saying “Cold is the night when the stars shine bright” you should know there’s tremendous truth to it. You see all that warm air in those summer skies allows for moisture to build up making the atmosphere hazy and far less transparent.
But when it comes to those crisp winter nights – well they allow very little moisture to build up which makes for an ideal dome of clear starry skies. So you couple our wonderful winters with our good distance from all those big city lights and you can be sure you’ve got yourself a stellar season of stargazing here on Nova Scotia’s South Shore.
You should also note that winter is the best time to appreciate the constellations at their largest and most dramatic. Be on the lookout for Orion the Hunter, Gemini, Monoceros and more. You’ll find great visual references here.
And with the longer nights, you’ll have more time to enjoy all that those starry skies have to offer. Here are a few tips to help you prepare as you head out for all that winter stargazing.
1. Dress warmly with lots of layers as the temperatures often fall throughout the night.
2. Bring a fully charged phone and let folks know where you’re headed and when you plan to return.
3. Wear a pair of warm winter boots suitable for your terrain and make them waterproof ones you’re beach-bound.
4. And If you’ve got them, take a good pair of binoculars for the incredible close-ups. Best to leave your telescope at home until the warmer temps return and there’s less chance for wind gusts.
You’ll also want to take note of the moon phases. If it’s the full moon you’re after that’s fine, but you’ll discover its bright light tends to wash out all but the very brightest stars. You’ll find a great chart here on the moon’s phases here.
And if you’re up for more winter stargazing adventures click here for space.com’s TOP 10 winter night sky events.
Of course, if it’s the stars of the big and small screen you’re after – we’ve got the finest kind of those here too. Be sure to see our feature on “South Shore Action” here.