The Light Pollution News Holiday Gift Guide is here!
If you are looking for gifts for the beginner to the advanced astronomer, night sky advocate, or anyone who enjoys stargazing, we have you covered. From astronomy books to telescopes, we can help you find the best astronomy gifts.
The holiday season is upon us and Christmas will be here before we know it. It seems like it sneaks up past Thanksgiving more and more every year! We can help you find the right gifts for any stargazer or astronomer.
First off we have the gift card. While we know gift cards are not the most exciting things to give, there is a good chance that the amateur astronomer you are looking to buy for already has some astronomy equipment in mind that they would like to purchase, and a gift card would help them towards that.
We recommend asking if there is any company that they are looking to purchase gear from and then sending them a gift card. Anyone who knows an astronomer knows that the gear certainly isn’t cheap, so they will definitely appreciate any help toward getting that new telescope.
Star Gazing Chair
A good outdoor chair is important for any astronomy lover. If you have ever been out star gazing with binoculars or sat outside to watch a meteor shower, you know that you can get a stiff neck from looking up for so long. A comfortable camp chair can make a huge difference.
Our favorite star gazing chairs, and all around camp chairs (we take these on all of our camping trips) are the Nemo Stargaze Reclining Camp Chairs. So many people ask us about these chairs that we always say we should be ambassadors for them!
These chairs recline almost all the way back and have a small pillow for your head. You can recline and watch meteor showers, or search the sky with a good pair of binoculars for star clusters or the Andromeda galaxy without getting a stiff neck!
Red Light Headlamp
A red light is a must-have piece of astronomy equipment. The red light is important because it won’t ruin your night vision the way that white light will. And even better than having a flashlight is a headlamp because it is entirely hands free so you can have both hands free to make any adjustments to your setup while searching for celestial objects (or while trying to polar align for the 100th time)!
These Petzl headlamps are our go-to camping headlamps because they have both white and red light functions. They are a personal favorite, we have had ours for years and highly recommend them.
Star gazing can be a chilly hobby when you are out all night, it can even get pretty cold during summer nights! Gloves are a must have for any astronomer, but taking your gloves on and off to make adjustments can get tedious.
These gloves have thumb tips and pointer finger tips that fold back so you can keep your gloves on while changing to a new eyepiece or looking through your star charts.
IDA Gift Membership
If you love the night sky then you certainly need to check out Dark Sky International (formerly International Dark Sky Association). They work to protect the night sky from light pollution. They are a non-profit advocacy organization that relies on donations for their work. Funding from memberships goes a long way towards helping them in their work. It is the perfect gift for any astronomer.
For a unique gift, check out a gift membership to Dark Sky that will help the fight against light pollution, and the recipient will be connected to a community of starry sky advocates and astronomers. They will also receive the quarterly Nightscape magazine which always contains informative stories, and inspiring advocacy work.
If you are interested in learning more about light pollution, we recommend checking out our podcast where we talk about all the latest news and research regarding light pollution.
We came across two astronomy themed games that look like a lot of fun! We haven’t tried either of them yet, but if you have, let us know what you think! These board games would make great gifts for an astronomy enthusiast.
Spaceopoly– a solar system themed version of Monopoly a great way to get the whole family involved! Be sure to watch out for the black holes!
Solar Quest the Space Age Real Estate Game– another outer space board game, it sounds similar to Spaceopoly, but with some unique twists. It is a great space exploration game!
As mentioned before, dealing with the cold is just part of being an amateur astronomer. A cozy blanket makes for the perfect astronomy gift. Our favorite camping blankets are these insulated blankets from Rumpl. They even have a clip on one side of the blanket so you can wear it like a cape when standing. Combine this with the Nemo Stargazer chair and you are stargazing in comfort!
Another fun blanket is this glow in the dark constellation blanket. It isn’t quite as warm as the Rumpl blanket, but great for when you need just a little extra warmth. And the glow in the dark constellations make it great for any space enthusiast.
Some astronomers will already have a library full of books, but we can think of one they definitely won’t have because it is only available for pre-order right now, “All Through the Night: One woman’s fight to protect our planet’s nature and environment from the effects of light pollution” by Dani Robertson. This would make an excellent gift for all astronomers.
A good gift idea for kids is the book Ole’s Dark Sky Journey. It’s a great way to introduce kids to the concept of dark skies and to introduce them to some of the constellations. We got this for our 3 year old nephew and he must have asked us to read it to him at least a dozen times while we were there. It is a fantastic book with beautiful illustrations.
If you are looking for books for a relatively new astronomer, this star chart is a great resource to help navigate the night sky.
Astronomy Magazine Subscription
These would both make for great gift ideas.
We don’t recommend purchasing a telescope for someone who is already into the astronomy hobby unless you know the exact specs of what they want because there is a good chance that they have something specific in mind.
However, for a brand new astronomer, someone just getting into astrophotography or older kids, we would recommend checking out this ZWO telescope. It works with smartphones and takes some great photos. This would make for a great first telescope.
Another great first telescope that does not involve a smartphone is this refractor telescope. It’s a great way to start exploring the night sky.
So there you have it, we think these are some of the best astronomy gift ideas for astronomers of all levels whether they want to check out deep-sky objects or sit back and observe the Milky Way.
Here’s to clear skies!