Taking A Stargazing Trip To Arizona? 4 Essential Tips To Help You Prepare
With a total lack of light pollution and plenty of high-up areas to view a crystal clear night sky, it’s no surprise that Arizona attracts tons of amateur astronomers and sightseers on a regular basis. From Sedona to Flagstaff and beyond, there are endless opportunities to catch a breathtaking view of the Milky Way year-round.
Although there’s no doubt that Arizona represents prime real estate for stargazing, making the most of your stargazing adventure requires some planning and preparation. Below we’ve broken down four tips to do exactly that no matter what celestial sights you’re hoping to see.
- Pick Out the Perfect Stargazing Spot
Not all stargazing spots are created equal.
If you’re coming from out of town, it’s well worth it to set up camp or plan your accommodations around accessible sites with high elevations. Some not-so-hidden gems where you’ll like mingle with others likewise looking at the night sky include the likes of…
- White Tank Mountain Regional Park (Phoenix)
- Grand Canyon National Park (Grand Canyon)
- Village of Oak Creek (Sedona)
- Cave Creek Regional Park (Phoenix)
- Lowell Observatory (Flagstaff)
If you’re taking a road-trip or are traveling via RV, you can actually hit up many of these spots within the same stretch. As noted by Outdoorsy, Sedona sits approximately halfway between the Grand Canyon and Phoenix. This allows you to experience both the natural beauty of the outdoors and some awesome stargazing while being efficient in terms of time spent on the road.
- Check in with Other Amateur Astronomers
There are many online communities and Facebook groups out there dedicated to stargazing if you have any questions about a spot or want to connect with others who’ve taken your planned trek.
Likewise, don’t be bummed out or surprised if you end up in some crowded areas with others trying to get the perfect photo. Instead, take the opportunity to mingle and share an epic moment together.
- Prepare for the Southwestern Outdoors
Arizona oftentimes surprises out of towners due to its diverse climate. While you should expect it to be hot and dry, keep in mind that the annual average temperature of Arizona sits around 71 degrees.
In addition to dressing in layers, also be aware of your surroundings in terms of terrain and local wildlife. Rattlesnakes and coyotes aren’t just something you see in the movies: be sure to look into any advisories before setting up camp accordingly.
- Don’t Bother Lugging Around a Telescope
Don’t assume that stargazing is out of your reach if you don’t know the first thing about astronomy or lack the “proper” equipment. For starters, you can snag epic snapshots with the likes of your smartphone or digital camera with no crazy lenses necessary.
Furthermore, there are tons of stargazing apps such as SkyView, Star Chart and Star Rover which can tell you exactly where to point your camera and what to look out for in the night sky. As long as you have a fully charged smartphone, you’re good to go.
The nighttime views in Arizona are truly one-of-a-kind for amateur astronomers and professional stargazers alike. With these tips handy, you can guarantee a trip to remember as you experience the cosmos like never before.