Look up… and gaze!
Thanks to less air pollution due to less travel in general, 2020 is the year to take advantage of some great stargazing opportunities. Travel Expert Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington shares what special things you need to look out for, plus the best spots in your area to gaze up and see the stars!
Some interesting things you can see
Autumn is one of the best times to clearly see the Milky Way, even without binoculars.
This year a rare chance to spot Mars, Saturn and Jupiter is also happening. The Mars opposition in early October will be so bright that even the naked eye will see a reddish object (with a telescope you’ll be able to see markings on Mars). But a telescope if you can get it would be even better!
This week there is even a chance to see the Northern Lights since a rare extended Northern Lights will be coming down into the northern states, so if you get out of the city light bubble, you may get to witness those!
What you need to know
Just getting out of the city light bubble can equal prime stargazing opportunities. Think about getting two to three hours away for a dark sky. You also want to make sure you don’t have a full moon since that can be a bit too bright for stargazing.
Download some apps!
Sky View Lite
The NASA app
These all allow you to hold your phone up to the sky for recognition and help you pinpoint cool constellations.
Great stargazing spots in Indiana
Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park is an ideal setting for stargazing because it has dark skies thanks to being right on the lake. Any spot along the lake will provide great stargazing opportunities. One of the best spots in the park is Kemil Beach. Plus you can also camp on the campground.
Eagle Creek Park
Just on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Eagle Creek Park is one of the city’s largest parks and offers just enough light protection for you to be able to see some of the biggest stars. Double check the closing times with the park and see if there are any stargazing events happening, because those will be after dusk.
Turkey Run State Park
This can make an easy weekend stargazing getaway because you can also stay on the grounds, and being almost an hour and half away from the city means you’ll get dark skies perfect for viewing. There are regular planetarium programs you can attend, but double check those due to the current COVID situation.
Be sure and follow Jennifer on social media @jennweatherhead.