Coronavirus is NOT a joke this article is meant to be a guide for those who wish to go out and stargaze when phase 2 and 3 is reached for their favorite astronomy spots. Until the virus is under control, it is recommended to check out our article with recommendations for 11 astronomy related activities to do during Coronavirus.
In the age of Coronavirus, there have been stay at home orders, quarantines, remote working, and much more! Astronomy and the entire space industry have been affected just as much as everyone else around the world. However, as the states reopen into phase 1 and potentially phase 1+ in the future potentially, what will that mean for amateur astronomers who want to get out and do some astronomy?
Note, we are NOT suggesting that you go out and practice amateur astronomy before there is a COVID-19/Coronavirus vaccine! We do understand that if and when areas reopen and it has been deemed safe to practice safe stargazing before a vaccine has been made widely available, some in the community might want to stargaze. These tips are meant for those to follow during phases 2, and 3 for those who want to go stargazing.
- Stay At Home!
Although there are a plethora of state parks and areas opening up, please make sure that you feel safe going outside. Please don’t go outside just for the photo or the viewing if lacking the proper gear and unable to socially distance. Your health is more important than a photo or viewing a target for 1 night, as there will be future nights to view the same objects. It is unlikely that the target that you desire to see won’t be disappearing anytime soon.
- Social Distancing, Face Masks, And Health Best Practices
If you decide to go out, please socially distance yourself while outside, including setting up, interacting with others during the time outside, and then cleaning up. If one does go out, which is not necessarily recommended unless one can socially distant 100% of the time, requires social distancing and wearing masks. Moreover, there are best practices for health, such as using wipes to wash your hands or using hand sanitizer. Always wash your hands, never touch your face, and follow the guidelines set out by health officials!
- Follow The Law And Don’t Trespass
Just because some parks or recreation areas are opening up under limited hours and circumstances, please check the open hours. This is important because a place like Cottonwood Canyon State Park makes for a great place to visit and perform astronomy, but they aren’t open at night. Make sure to check as there are serious consequences such as a citation or worse. If there are questions, check the websites for availability.
- Check Availability
Please make sure that all the sites have availability in terms of handling capacity. There might not be enough space to handle all of the astronomers in the area who come to the same place with the same idea. Be prepared to turn around and head home if there isn’t the space to be safe and healthy.
Remember, your health is of #1 importance!