Fun & Games

Starry Nights: A Guide to Stargazing at the Cabin

An amateur astronomer takes you on a virtual tour of the night sky

By Pat Kelley
Published: February 1, 2002
stargazing background
The nightly appearance of the constellations and stars has been a source of endless wonder and intrigue through the ages. It’s a timeless topic. You’re as likely to find the stars mentioned in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” as Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” as – well, yes – even Cabin Life magazine.
    Cabins and the cosmos?
    Sure! Cabins and stars, you see, is a match made in the heavens. When you’re at your cabin or lakehome, you’re very well positioned to stargaze. Away from city lights, the sky is darker, so the view is better. On a clear dark night you can see thousands of stars with unaided eyes. Consider yourself fortunate, since the majority of people – 99 out of 100, according to a recent issue of Discover Magazine – have never seen a truly dark night sky. Moreover, “two-thirds of Americans never see the Milky Way, the cumulative glow of all the stars in our galaxy.”
    So go ahead, step outside your cabin into the frosty evening air, and look up at the expansive beauty of the glittering night sky, which is more spectacular now than in any other season. 
    Patience is key, because stargazing can be overwhelming and frustrating for the novice trying to find a specific star or constellation. In “Julius Caesar,” Shakespeare aptly described the night sky as, “painted with unnumbered sparks.” 
    Don’t let the sky overwhelm and discourage you, though. Relax, enjoy being together, take pride in each star sighting, share what you see with each other, and celebrate the incredible beauty and mystery of the cosmos. 
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