7 essential star-gazing accessories

7 essential star-gazing accessories

Planning a spot of star-gazing on your honeymoon? Don't forget these essential accessories to heighten your experience, says Daisy Cropper

Wanderlust recently reported on the news that Wales' Breacon Beacons National Park has officially been listed as a Dark Sky Reserve for the quality of its starry-night skies. Whether you're taking a trip to the Welsh national park to uncover the Milky Way, or heading further afield to watch the universe turn, don't forget these bits of kit to help you on your way.

Star-gazing accessories 1. The Night Sky (App)

£0.69, App store

If you're out star-gazing together without a knowledgeable guide, The Night Sky app is the easiest way to know what you're looking at and when.

Become an instant astronomy expert. Download the app, open it on your device and point it up towards the sky. The device's internal compass, along with the downloaded software will be able to pin-point exactly what you're looking at, whether it's Mercury, Venus or the Moon.

Star-gazing accessoriesor... a star chart

£9.61, Amazon

Don't have a device to work this from? Not a problem. Try it the old manual way with this Night Sky Star Wheel. Sometimes the traditional ways are much more fun! An easy explanation on the back of the chart makes it simple for star-gazing novices to pick up the basics.

Star-gazing accessories2. The Stargazer's Guide

£14.99, Stanfords

Be prepared! Take in everything from your viewing of the Milky Way by picking up a few basics beforehand. Author of The Stargazer's Guide Emily Winterburn reckons a stargazer is anyone who's ever found themselves looking at the night sky wanting to know a little more. This beginner's book focuses on the stars rather than astronomy and leads easy step-by-step ways to identify constellations.

A month by month guide will explain what you can see where and when, and in-depth explanations of meteor showers, shooting stars, comets and the moon will help you pick up a bit of background info.

It's good for when the clouds (inevitable, it's Wales) cover the night sky as well.

Star-gazing accessories

3. And head torch...

£19.99, Nomad

Whether you're reading or just finding your way, don't forget a good head torch! But remember, when star-gazing your eyes need to adjust to the black skies so don't use it too much, and try not to shine it in your partner's face.

Star-gazing accessories4. Hand warmers

£8, Millets

For the clearest nights, winter is the best time to star gaze. But obviously, it's also the coldest. You can cuddle up together holding hands, but you'll probably find a pair of reuseable handwarmers useful to keep your fingers extra toasty while you sit back and enjoy the twinkling views.

Small, snug and simple - the handwarmers can be slipped into pockets, will provide heat for up to 20 minutes and can be used again and again.

Star-gazing accessories5. Laser pointer

£59.99, WEX Photographic

Trying to compare your partner's shining eyes (unfavourably) to a particularly bright star?

If your romantic idea is left floundering in a confusion of "That one there!" "Where?" "There!" "To the left a bit...?" you probably need a Sky-Watcher NightStreak Green Laser Pointer. A bit long-winded but simple in its uses. A powerful beam of green light is emitted from the device making it easy to point out sights of interest. Just don't point it at any passing aeroplanes...

Star-gazing accessories6. Thermos and something hot!

£8, Amazon

This is the best way to keep warm on a cold night star-gazing. Keep a thermos with a hot toddy close by to get you glowing on the inside. This one-litre Thermos Thermocafe Stainless Steel Flask will keep drinks hot for up to eight hours (plenty of observation time), is 'virtually unbreakable' and lightweight if your hiking.

What you put in there is another conundrum entirely. Whiskey, hot water and lemon? Mulled wine? Or a good slug of hot cocoa? The choice is yours...

National Trust Prodmicroimg 8807. Something cosy...

£12, National Trust Shop

Whether you take individual folding chairs, or lie back and cuddle up horizontally, make sure you've got a good blanket to keep you cosy. These Random Woollen rugs from the National Trust Shop (120cm x 145cm) are made in the UK from recycled wool, so each rug is as individual as the couple watching the cosmos beneath it.

Daisy Cropper learned the basics on a star-gazing trip to South-West Scotland at Glenapp Castle. Find out more here. Follow her adventures on twitter @daisy_cropper

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