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When Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind,” he was stepping out of a spaceship and onto the moon. But we’d like to think he would be a fan of looking out at the night sky from the vantage point of a roof top tent, too.
July 20th is National Moon Day, which is the perfect excuse to get off the grid for some prime stargazing. And going deep into nature with your Roofnest means getting away from light pollution to see the moon and stars the way they were intended to be seen.
Here’s how to celebrate National Moon Day while camping — including our favorite stargazing tools, and the best full moon events to add to your calendar this summer.
Get Off the Grid
You’ve probably felt the difference between setting up in a packed campsite and setting up in a remote location all to yourself.
Not only will you get some peace and quiet at secluded camping sites, but you won’t have to fight the crowds for a car camping spot, or worry about loud parties at night.
Dispersed camping allows you to settle deep into nature — so close, in fact, that you might encounter local wildlife (safely, we hope), and discover interesting plants and scenery.
We recommend national forest camping to get far away from popular tourist attractions. The farther you are from city centers, the clearer the night sky will be for checking out the moon and stars.
Go Star Gazing
You can try stargazing from home, but you’ll have better chances of seeing the Milky Way if you camp out under the stars in your hard shell roof top tent, far away from light pollution.
Watching the stars has inspired travelers and wilderness explorers for centuries. And as we build more cities, the amount of places to stargaze gets smaller and smaller.
The National Park Service (NPS) actively works to preserve undeveloped wilderness so our skies stay clear. Scientists use special cameras to explore the night, while many parks offer their own night sky events.
Pro-tip: When the moon is full, stars can be harder to see. Night hikes are great during a full moon, as you’ll have plenty of light to guide you on the trail. But always bring a flashlight and/or headlamp, too.
Add These Summer Moon Events to Your Calendar
The great thing about National Moon Day is you can celebrate any time you want. There’s always something happening in the night sky, and you can catch incredible astrological events year-round.
If you’re looking for the best things to do while camping alone (or with family) you can plan ahead to be camping on any of these days:
July 24 – Full Moon
While Neil Armstrong landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, you can still pay him homage by staring up at the night sky and taking in the full moon on this date.
July 28 & 29 – Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower
From around July 12 – August 23 each year, you can catch a meteor shower as the Earth travels through comet debris. You’ll see the most meteors around July 29, so take a long weekend and head into the bush.
August 2 – Saturn at Opposition
Ever wanted to see Saturn? On August 2nd, it’ll face opposite the sun and be visible for most of the night.
August 8 – New Moon
Because the moon is too close to the sun at this time, it becomes invisible. That means you’ll have a darker night sky and prime stargazing conditions.
August 12, 13 – Perseids Meteor Shower
NASA considers this the best meteor shower of the year, so you won’t want to miss it. The moon is also less full, giving you an excellent view of up to 100 meteors flying by per hour from your RTT.
August 19 – Jupiter at Opposition
It’s rare to be able to see this planet in the night sky, but you’ll get a full view of Jupiter as it approaches Earth on the 19th.
August 22 – Full Moon, Blue Moon
If you missed the last full moon, you’ve got another one to look at — and this time it’s tinted blue.
Star Gazing Resources
As a Roofnest owner, you know how important it is to have the right tools when camping. Even if you don’t have a high-powered telescope, you can still spot constellations and find planets from your RTT.
If you’re camping in a Dark Sky Place, we’d recommend a few of these awesome night viewing apps for your phone or iPad:
What’s great about these stargazing apps is that they’ll also help you see more stars at home, in the off chance you’re not deep in the backwoods catching a meteor shower.
Another way to enjoy the night sky is to make a sky journal. You and your kids can bring notebooks to record your findings of the night sky on your next camping trip.
Make Camping Educational and Fun with Your Family
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Getting off the grid isn’t just important for your own sanity — it’s great for your kids too.
Camping is the best way to see more stars and experience the natural wonder of the night sky. You can make it even more special this summer by trying dispersed camping sites near you to get a full stargazing experience.
Before your kids head back to school for the year, get them out in nature. From astronomy to bird watching to studying local flora, there’s plenty of educational experiences for kids while camping.
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