Preparing for your night observing

Most people observe from their back garden and save up trips to the dark-sky sites for the New Moon weekends – my friends and I do the same things.

Here’s how to beat the cold to enjoy the night sky
at cold wind / sub-zero or below temperatures


Keep Warm

  • First, be comfortable.
  • Take plenty of warm clothes.
  • A full coverage will provide complete body coverage and don’t have gaps, which let you back or neck get cold.
  • You may use a muffler, mask, and ski cap to keep your head warm.

Warm socks and lightweight hiking boots

  • It help a lot to keep your feet warm – remember you will be standing in them for some hours when you’re at the telescope.
  • Take a jacket, a pair of thick pants even when it is warm day.
  • By the time it gets good and dark you will be glad you have some warm clothes to slip into ~ many folks have stopped observing while under a sparking clear sky because they were too cold to continue.


  • It ends of the fingers are cut out, are needed, they cannot be too thick ~ being used to change an eyepiece or take notes.

Warm Clothes

  • Put on the warm clothes before you get really cold ~ the best technique is to wear several layers.

Take a break

  • Try and break every couple of hours and get off your feet.
  • I like to put my feet up on the chair, to help relieve the strain of several hours standing at the eyepiece.
  • If you can be seated while observing that is a more relaxing to look up the night sky.

During the break

  • You can chat, look for meteors, satellites, or try and find the constellations.
  • A snack & hot drink helps keep you an awake and will give you energy to fight off cold.


Before you start

  • A nap is a good for observing
    – yes, it certainly was easier to stay up all night.
    – really sleepy observer is not having fun and is not making good observations.
  • Make a good observing list
    – it will make much for a much more enjoyable evening.
  • Get there early
    – arrive before sunset of the Sun disappears below the horizon.
    – this gives you up to an hour of twilight to set up and ready for to observe.
    There are two reasons to set up early;
    First, it gives the telescope some time to “air-out” before being used.
    – the second reasons to arrive early in the evening is that you can avoid using white light to get up ….also make certain that your telescope is ready to perform well.

Be Weather-Wise

  • Becoming a deep-sky observer will also make you become a weather watcher.

See in BSL


Comments are closed.