My favorite thing in this world is looking up at stars but I live in NYC so I can't ever see stars. I was wondering if anyone knew of a device I can attach to a smartphone that would let me look up at the stars and actually see some? I can't afford to buy an expensive telescope. I'm a student and I just want to see some stars. Thanks to anyone who can help.
This isn't going to attach to a smartphone, not everything in life is best seen through a screen. The camera on a smartphone is remarkable, but your eyes are much more sensitive in low light. Binoculars will make a lot more stars visible, even in heavily light polluted places.
A pair of binoculars is cheap enough for students. They are categorised as, for example 10x50, which means 10x magnification, and 50mm lenses. You want the second number to be big, which means the binoculars gather more light. 10x50 is often thought to be a good compromise between light gathering and weight. You won't want "zoom" or "night vision" or other such features.
I'm too regular person. I find myself in similar situation as I stay in Mumbai. I too don't want to buy any expensive. Here is how I deal with it.
- Star Gazing sessions away from city. I go to star gazing sessions arranged by local astronomy groups every month. I prefer to visit twice a year. One is April and other between Oct to December. This way I cover both summer and winter Sky.
It takes 3 hrs to travel one way to go far away from light pollution. I have been attending this sessions for last 4 years. They have 8 inch and 10 inch Dobsonian reflecting telescopes. Patches of galaxies, nebulae and clusters can be easily seen through it. I made my mom to attend these sessions, she was happy and surprised to see Jupiter and it's moons through telescope. I suggest you to attend these sessions once in a while.
- Star Maps or App Before I goto sleep, I use Star app to find constellations, asterisms & planets. Thesr apps use real time star map in app for the night. It is helpful to know when they rise and set.
I bought Sky Safari app and been using it for last 2 years. There are amazing free verisons as well like Stellarium.
Binoculars though can help you looking at stars invisible to naked eye. It's great start but I find using telescopes by attending star gazing sessions more effective way to look stars.
If you live in a city, I'd get binoculars like the others have mentioned. But I would also plan a trip out into the countryside. I live 2 hours from a major city and still the sky is dark enough to see thousands of stars, the Milky Way, and even the Andromeda galaxy (faintly).
If you get binoculars, the first thing I would look at is the Pleiades. We can see six of the stars with the naked eye, with binoculars, you can see way more in the cluster. The next thing I would find it he nebula in Orion's belt.