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Below you will find our advice as well as a list of the essential items you need to put in your backpack before going to spot shooting stars!
Every year, in the heart of summer, three evenings are devoted to stargazing. For the occasion, many events are organised throughout France. So that you don't miss any of the spectacle and gaze at the stars under the best possible conditions, here is a list of the essential items you need to remember:
- binoculars or a telescope
- an app to learn the constellations
- a printed star map
- a camera to take beautiful pictures
- a small lamp with red lighting that won't dazzle you
- a head torch to get your bearings in the night
- a blanket to lie down comfortably on the ground
- a soft pillow to avoid straining your neck
Remember to dress properly, summer nights can be cold:
- a sweater or a fleece
- a small padded jacket if you are in the mountains
- a hat
- some gloves
- some comfortable chunky socks
1/ GET AWAY FROM ANY LIGHT POLLUTION
Go in search of a clear sky, that is as far as possible from the city lights.
In order to fully enjoy your night under the stars, make sure there are no clouds. This will need some preparation: take a good look at the weather forecast before you go!
The further away you are from the city, the more you will be able to see the stars. Indeed, cities are very bright and make it hard to observe the skies. We recommend getting at least 15 to 20 km away from the city centre, where your eyes will be able to see up to 2000 or 3000 stars simultaneously, once they are accustomed to the dark!
2/ FIND THE IDEAL LOCATION
Did you know? France has 2 of the 13 major dark sky reserves in the world: the Pic du Midi and the Cévennes nature reserve.
If you don't live next to these two reserves, you can turn to mobile apps like Dark sky or Sky Live - Clair Ciel Nocturne to help you find the perfect place to gaze at the stars!
3/ GET THE RIGHT TOOLS
With the help of mobile apps or maps of the constellations, you will be able to know which stars or which planets you are looking at! For example, you will be able to identify the three planets of the solar system that are always visible: Mars, Saturn and Jupiter! You too can enjoy a great stargazing outing!