Stargazing might seem as simple as looking up, but there are tons of ways to get the most out of your experience. Here are some of our top recommendations as you start looking toward the skies:
The App Store and Google Play are full of stargazing apps, all with varying tools and price points. These apps allow users to locate specific stars and constellations and learn more about the celestial objects they spot.
Consider the features most important to you when choosing an app. Do you want notifications when a certain star might be visible, or interactive quizzes to help you learn more? How about downloadable content for when you lose cell service? There’s plenty to consider, and we recommend doing your research and reading reviews to find the right stargazing app for you. A few of the most popular apps include Star Walk 2, Sky View and Night Sky.
Stargazing & Photography
Photographing the night sky is not as simple as point-and-shoot photography. It is a skill that takes knowledge of cameras, some gear, and a whole lot of patience. Here is a helpful guide to taking professional level night sky photos:
Night Sky Calculator
Not all night skies are created equal! Not only does location matter when it comes to dark skies, but timing matters, too. It is always darkest during a new moon, and "midnight" does not always mean 12 a.m. Use a night sky calculator to determine when the sky will be the darkest during your trip for maximum star sightings. Simply input your location, select the date you will be there, and calculate the best time to check out the stars.
Gear to Remember
It doesn’t matter what season you’re stargazing in—it’s always best to be prepared when it comes to weather in Montana. Even on the warmest days, the nights can be cool, so be sure to pack layers including a jacket, a hat or beanie and gloves, even during the summer months. During the fall through spring, come prepared with heavier jackets, warm boots and socks, too. We recommend bringing camp chairs or a picnic blanket to sit on and enjoy the show.