Stargazing, Not Just for Astronomers or How We Can All Be Astronomers

One of the joys of camping is the opportunity if affords you to get away from city life, and with it, the opportunity for stargazing.  Hidden Valley RV has very little artificial light, making viewing the night sky much more satisfying.

Hidden Vallians sitting around the campfire
For those of us who enjoy stargazing but lack an encyclopedic knowledge of constellations, apps like
SkyView can be a huge help. If you’re anything like me, sky-interested but not particularly sky-knowledgeable, SkyView is a great tool for your stargazing experience.

“You don't need to be an astronomer to find stars or constellations in the sky, just open SkyView® Free and let it guide you to their location and identify them. SkyView Free is a beautiful and intuitive stargazing app that uses your camera to precisely spot and identify celestial objects in sky, day or night. Find popular constellations as they fade in and out while you scan across the sky, locate planets in our solar system, discover distant galaxies, and witness satellite fly-bys.” (quote from the app developers' site.)

The app is easy to use and extremely helpful when stargazing. After installation, point your phone or tablet at the sky and the app will identify the galaxies, stars, constellations, planets, and satellites over your location.
Screenshots of the Skyview App in Action
See the constellations where you are based on the apps locator

• Simple: Point your device at the sky to identify galaxies, stars, constellations, planets, and satellites (including the ISS and Hubble) passing overhead at your location.
• Night Mode: Preserve your night vision with red or green night mode filters.
• Augmented Reality (AR): Use your camera to spot objects in the sky, day or night.
• Sky Paths: Follow the sky track for any object to see it’s exact location in the sky on any date and time.
• Time Travel: Jump to the future or the past and see the sky on different dates and times.
• Social: Capture and share beautiful images with friends and family on social networks.
• Mobile: WiFi is NOT required (does not require a data signal or GPS to function). Take it camping, boating, or even flying!
Icon of the Skyview App on both Apple & Android

• Supports Space Navigator™ binoculars, spotting scope, and telescopes.
The app also includes detailed information and graphics for each sky object. The app automatically updates any trajectory changes the object you’re tracking may make, and the Sightings Engine provides a list of new sky object sightings each day.
See developer Terminal Eleven’s website for more information on SkyView and it’s sister app, SkyView Satellite Guide!  There is a free and paid version for both Android and Apple.
A great website for the current months astronomical events and how to best view them is StarDate.  It has lots of great info, in advance, about the planets, moons, etc. that are converging in your location. Then you can make a “star date” to be in an opportune spot at the right time to see the most activity.

What a fun way to teach yourself, your children, your students, or your friends about our wonderful universe! How do y’all view the earth’s ceiling?  Tell us in the comments about your favorite app or other way to learn about and watch the skies.

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with , Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV and our RV Country Daily Magazine and don't forget to Say hello to the voice of Hidden Valley 

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