Want to camp beneath a canopy of stars? Here are 4 conditions you must have


Photos By ROCKY TEH

Teh and Tan camping under the starry skies.

Four conditions are necessary if you wish to camp beneath a canopy of stars.

First, it has to be around the new moon phase. Second, there should be minimal haze. Third, the night must be cloudless. Lastly, there can be no light pollution, the luminous glow from cities that obscures the night sky.

Meet all these conditions, and you will see the magical Milky Way.

Penangite Rocky Teh, his girlfriend Yiko Tan and another couple experienced this ideal scenario when they went camping near Mount Silipat in Thailand recently.

The nearest city, Yala, was almost 90km away, and for hundreds of thousands of hectares around them, there was nothing but jungle and rubber or durian plantations. As a result, there were neither city lights nor industrial haze to spoil the night sky.

“We didn’t choose to camp during the new moon on purpose,” Teh said.

“We just set our date and after dinner at camp, we looked up and were stunned to see so many stars. We spent hours sitting on our high-back camp chairs, just looking at them.”

Their camping trip took place from April 10 to 12. The new moon was on April 8, and according to the moon phase chart, the moon was a slim crescent at 4% of the full moon on their first night and 10% on their second night.

Capturing proper photos was a challenge. Teh used a high-quality mobile phone mounted on a tripod with the camera set to night mode.

“To include ourselves in the picture with the stars, we needed to stay completely motionless for about 10 seconds, or else we would be blurred. It took many tries to get good shots,” he laughed.

Their night entertainment didn’t stop there; they also saw shooting stars.

“As we looked at the night sky, we could suddenly see something making a short line of light for just a split second. It was amazing to see shooting stars because they remind us of how small we are in the universe,” Teh said.

Shooting stars are meteors – bits of sand and rock from outer space that enter Earth’s atmosphere.

Those large enough to be seen by the naked eye are usually the size of pebbles, becoming visible at about 100km overhead when they plummet at speeds of almost 50,000kph and burn brightly at over 1,500°C before disintegrating into dust.

Solitary meteors enter Earth’s atmosphere all the time, but once every few decades or even centuries, predictable meteor showers occur, with dozens or even hundreds of meteors visible at once.

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StarExtra , Outdoors , camping

   

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