My favorite part of summer isn’t the warm weather or the sun-soaked days spent at the beach while sipping margaritas. In fact, my favorite part of summer has nothing to do with the day at all — my favorite part is the night.
As far back as I can remember, I have had an insatiable curiosity to learn more about our universe. And because the best way to learn about the galaxy is to observe it, most of my summer nights are spent outside looking up. Summer isn’t the perfect time of year for stargazing, but it is the most comfortable. The days are long, which means the nights are short, but unless you’re a professional astronomer who plans to spend four or more hours a night looking up at the stars, the shorter nights won’t be a problem, and the comfort of the warmer air makes it the best time for most people to get outside and enjoy the gorgeous views.
When picking the perfect stargazing spot, there is one major enemy — light pollution. Sorry, city dwellers, but you’re going to have to travel quite a ways away from home to get away from the city lights that drown out the stars and planets that are visible to the naked eye in darker areas. Other factors, like humidity and the moon cycle, play a role as well. You want to make sure you go during the third quarter or new moon phase so the moon won’t be too bright and block out a lot of the gorgeous stars and planets. You can find which moon phase we are in by going here. You can also visit this website to check the light pollution in your area, but to make things super-easy, I’ve created a list of some of the best places for stargazing in the U.S.