May 26, 2020

The Vagabond Astronomer

This is a concept that I have been thinking about for some time. Basically, I love two things; astronomy and travel. The kind of travel that I really like to do is independent backpacking. Vagabonding. Everywhere I travel, I see folks melding their interests, such as guitar or scuba, with travel. Why not do the same with astronomy? I love doing star parties and I love showing people the stars. If nothing else, I like folks to go away knowing there is a distiction between astronomy and astrology! However backpacking presents its own challenges. Generally, the cherished rule of thumb is to pack as absolutely light as possible. This procludes bringing your 20″ Dobsonian on the aircraft. Whats’ a vagabond star gazer to do? To this end, I came up with the below gear lists for an instant starparty at a backpackers ghetto near you.


- Laser Pointer: Just keep in mind airlines won’t allow anything above a 5 milliwatt output.
- Red Flashlight: I like INova lights, as they are extremely tiny and bright and fit on a zipper.
- Hand out starcharts: These can fit in a poster tube.
- Tip jar: complete with flashing red light, so folks will see it!


To the above I would add:
- A laptop: A good powerpoint presentation will save the day (or night) if its cloudy.
- Binoculars: A small portable pair can show details like lunar craters.


And finally, If you can afford the weight, I would add:

- A telescope: The three options that are light and viable would be a small short tube refractor on a lightweight tripod, a small Personal Solar Telescope from Coronado, or a homemade collapseable reflector. Keep in mind you may be totting these!

Finally, keep abreast of current news and goings on in the sky. Sattellite passes and meteor showers are fun to point out and require no equipment. Look up local myths and lore concerning the sky. This will give an immediate connection with your travels. Look forward to more posts as I tweak the methods of the Vagabond Astronomer!


  1. Daniel says:

    I couldn’t understand some parts of this article The Vagabond Astronomer, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  2. webmaster says:

    Basically, its “astronomy on the fly”, kind of like an instant star party. If you’ve never been to one, like probably 90+ % of the population, they rock!

  3. I whole heartedly agree…


  1. 290154687607…

    I plan to check it out…

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