What equipment do you need for stargazing in a city?

What equipment do you need for stargazing in a city?

What equipment do you need for stargazing in a city?

When it comes to stargazing in the city, we are at the mercy of light pollution – a side effect of our collective reliance on artificial light. In earlier centuries, even densely populated cities were significantly darker at night than today. Victorian Londoners would stand outside and admire the Milky Way from Trafalgar Square – today an almost unimaginable experience that will probably never happen again, except during a catastrophic power outage.

Technology has undoubtedly improved nightlife in the city, making outdoor spaces safer and more accessible after dark, but it’s a double-edged sword. This same advancement has eroded the beauty of the sky. However, technology exists to solve problems, even the problems it causes. So, could special astronomy technology reduce the effects of light pollution and help us reclaim the night? It turns out that out-of-the-box equipment can help you make the most of the clear city air. Here’s what you need to know.

Bringing back the contrast

Light pollution above city

(Image credit: Getty)

Because the cumulative glow of our outdoor lighting is reflected off the atmosphere, the sky acts like a dull mirror on the ground. As a result, the apparent contrast of celestial bodies is reduced, making them less visible to our eyes. So, can you see stars in a light-polluted sky? We need to use equipment that helps us restore this perceived contrast to make the stars and other objects stand out against the too bright background. Fortunately, there are two ways to increase contrast that, especially when combined, can produce surprisingly impressive results.

Binoculars and telescopes