Matt Johnson

How to Make Your Night Unforgettable with these Stargazing Essentials

Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Dec 28, 2023

Whether you’re planning a glamping adventure or a traditional camping trip, one activity that can truly elevate your experience is stargazing. 

There’s something magical about gazing up at a starlit sky, far away from the city lights. 

Want to make the most of your stargazing experience? We’ve got everything you need.

Choosing the perfect spot.

Location is key. For the best stargazing experience, you’ll want to find a spot far from light pollution. 

National parks or remote camping sites are often great choices. Apps like “Dark Sky Finder” can help you locate the darkest skies near you.

Light pollution, such as that from city lights and vehicles, washes out the natural scene in the sky.

Essential gear.

Of course, all you really need is your eyes, and you can have a memorable experience. However, if you want to experience the cosmos like a pro, you might want a few extra items to help you along.

  • A quality telescope. For a deeper dive into the cosmos, a good telescope can make all the difference. The Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ is a tremendous beginner-friendly option, offering clear, crisp images of the moon, planets, and beyond.
  • Binoculars. If a telescope isn’t on hand, binoculars like the Nikon Prostaff 3S are a fantastic alternative. They’re portable and perfect for a quick gaze at the night sky.
  • Star map or app. A star map or a stargazing app like “NightSky” can help you identify constellations and planets. These tools are invaluable for both beginners and seasoned stargazers. They will help you determine which stars and other celestial objects you’re looking at.
Telescope Looking at Night Sky

We’ll discuss photography a bit later, but you might want to consider a camera as well.

What to look for when stargazing.

The night sky is vast and full of wonders. 

Here are a few highlights to seek out—

  • Constellations. These are groups of stars forming recognizable patterns. Classics include Orion, Ursa Major (and the Big Dipper), and Cassiopeia. 
  • Planets. Bright planets like Jupiter and Venus can often be seen with the naked eye. However, if you’re using a telescope, you can really pull out some detail on these planets.
  • Meteor showers. Check a celestial calendar for any upcoming meteor showers – they’re a spectacular sight! If you time your glamping trip just right, you’re in for a treat. 
Big Dipper with NightSky App

Something fun you can do if you have a group is create a game where participants have to find and identify various objects, almost like a night-sky scavenger hunt. 

How to stargaze effectively.

There’s a bit more to stargazing than simply looking up in the sky. So, we’ve got a few tips to help you get started on the right foot.

  • Let your eyes adjust. It takes about 20-30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to the dark. Try to avoid bright lights (including your phone screen) during this time.
  • Comfort is key. Bring a comfortable chair or a blanket. Lying flat on your back is often the best way to take in the vastness of the night sky.
  • Patience pays off. The longer you gaze, the more you’ll see. Give yourself at least an hour for stargazing. Even if there isn’t a meteor shower going on during this time, you still stand a good chance of catching a shooting star or two.

Photography tips to capture the night sky.

If you’re into photography, capturing the night sky can be rewarding. A DSLR camera with manual settings, a tripod, and a remote shutter release can help you take stunning long-exposure shots of the stars.

We’re not professional photographers, but we’ve captured some really cool night sky photos. 

Here are some essential equipment and settings to help you capture stunning night shots.

Equipment/SettingWhat We Recommend
CameraDSLR or mirrorless with good high ISO performance.
LensWide-angle lens (e.g., 14mm – 24mm) with a large aperture (f/2.8 or wider).
TripodSturdy tripod to prevent camera shake and allow for long exposures.
ISO SettingHigh ISO (e.g., 1600 – 3200), adjusted based on ambient light and desired exposure.
Shutter SpeedLong exposure (e.g., 15 – 30 seconds), but short enough to prevent star trails (unless intended).

Enjoy the view!

Stargazing can turn a simple night outdoors into an awe-inspiring experience. 

Isn’t that what glamping is about? The best experience ever?

With the right location, gear, and a little bit of knowledge, you’re set for an unforgettable night under the stars.


Matt Johnson

Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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