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COLUMN: Try stargazing for an ‘out and about’ experience (VIDEO)

Clifford Crandall Jr.
Sentinel columnist
Posted 11/6/22

Holy star gazing. Could you be the first person to see the great meteor coming at us that will destroy our planet? Check out the video in the column.

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COLUMN: Try stargazing for an ‘out and about’ experience (VIDEO)


Holy star gazing. Could you be the first person to see the great meteor coming at us that will destroy our planet?

No, I doubt it.

But this activity can fill my three areas to qualify as an activity - stimulates the emotions, challenges the brain, and if you take the time to go to a park or outside the range of city lights for a better viewing experience, it gets you out and about.

Your tools can vary from high-powered telescopes, spotting scopes, and celestial binoculars to a regular pair of home binoculars or just your natural eyes. We talk about stopping and smelling the flowers as a phrase to slow down and appreciate life and the wonders around us. It has been many years, but here you are at the proverbial lookout point in your car, or on a blanket on the grass, to actually look out into the vastness of the universe.

We are small in comparison to the wonders around us. Constellations, blood moons, comets, meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, and planet alignments. My lovely wife is more into this than I am, and yet because of her, I have seen so much in the past few years and feel as if I have grown in how much more I understand and appreciate the amazing creations around me.

Some of these opportunities required me to get up or stay up until midnight or 1 a.m. in the morning, which was a challenge, but I am so glad I did. There is a difference between having the news tell you about it and actually seeing the event.

It is a year-round activity, which means you’re going outside in the summer or winter. A suggestion: overdress. It is better to be warm than to come home with the chills, and it gets cold when the sun goes down.

Keep in mind that those moving stars with green and red lights are actually planes (a little star gazing humor).

Something else to consider in your equipment is a tripod. They really make a difference. Trying to hold anything in your hands and not have it move is tough. The celestial objects you are looking at are so far away that any movement makes them look like a blur and it is more difficult to see clearly.

So, whether you have steady hands or not, a tripod truly makes a big difference. There are many kinds, but getting the lightest and easiest to carry should not be your goal. One that can handle the weight and unpredictable shifting of your scope or celestial binoculars will save you from a heart attack when it shifts or tips and you’re not holding it.

You’ll find inexpensive brackets available online to mount a cellphone to your telescope or binoculars so that you can take pictures of what you are viewing. I find this quite handy and nifty. Also, having a red-lighted flashlight is good for maintaining your night vision. It helps you see things you may drop, and it assists you in putting up and taking down your equipment.

There are some neat astronomical events coming up in the future, such as the Quadrantids Meteor Shower on Jan. 3 and 4. Also, a pair of solar eclipses will be seen in North America just 177 days apart, the first on Oct. 14, 2023. The Eta Aquarids meteor shower will peak the night of May 6 and the morning of May 7 and one of 2023’s four supermoons will be seen on Aug. 1. Gaze into the universe. You may see something unique or unusual, but always amazing. For more activity suggestions, go to

Keep in mind: Man can alter his life by altering his thinking. (William James)

Clifford Crandall Jr., 75, is founder and grandmaster of the American Martial Arts Institute, 8382 Seneca Turnpike in New Hartford. He has produced a monthly column and video series, “Still Alive and Kicking,” promoting life-enhancing activities for seniors.


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