Anne Arundel Community College
101 College Parkway
Arnold, Md. 21012
Throughout the summer starting in August, and then again throughout the winter, the astronomy department opens its doors to the public and helps guide and educate on the topic of stargazing. Bring your equipment or borrow what is available on site to view the sky in a whole new way. Located on Ritchie Highway, the community college is an easily accessible location that is large enough to accommodate a crowd. Stargazing sessions are usually held once a month on the second or third Saturday depending on the moon phase. Call or check the website for details and specific dates and times.
Bear Branch Nature Center
300 John Owings Road
Westminster, Md. 21158
Bear Branch Nature Center is located in Westminster, Md. and offers many different opportunities to experience nature. You can spend the day exploring the walking trails, bird watching and experiencing all that the discovery room and other amenities have to offer. Once the sun goes down however, the real fun begins. Bear Branch is the home of a 40-seat planetarium offering three stationary telescopes. The facility is open to the public free of charge. Be sure to check the website for hours of operation.
Stargazing Fridays at Maryland Science Center
601 Light St.
Baltimore, Md. 21230
There is no shortage of fun to be had at the Maryland Science Center. The list of events and activities is endless and caters to a wide array of ages and interests. Check the events calendar for a full list of activities. On Friday nights, take the whole family to enjoy a night under the stars. The Science Center opens the observatory doors every Friday night from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. It is recommended that you call ahead in case weather or sky conditions have caused a cancellation.
University of Maryland Observatory
University of Maryland
College Park, Md. 20742
University of Maryland hosts open houses on the 5th and 20th of every month. Group sessions and public sessions are available. The open house is both educational and informal. The open house begins with a presentation and a tour of the facility followed by an opportunity to stargaze. If you have a group that is interested in going to one of the open houses together, you must make a group reservation. Large groups are not allowed to attend the public sessions. Group sessions are held first, followed by the public sessions. Dates and times of open houses are posted on the website. If weather does not permit for stargazing, the lecture and tour is still held. Cancellations are only made in the event of severe weather. Visitors must show up on time to be admitted.
Just Get Outside
If you wish to enjoy the beauty of the night sky without traveling to a designated stargazing facility, you can certainly stargaze from the comfort of your own backyard. Consider using a site like cleardarksky.com which can tell you what nights might be best to see stars and constellations based on sky conditions. You can also use a constellation map to help you identify what you are seeing. Maryland is home to many great state parks that offer the perfect outdoor location for stargazing. Check the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for park locations.
Related: Best Night Cruises In Maryland
Jillian Amodio is an author, writer, and public speaker.There is nothing she enjoys more than being a stay at home mom. In addition to having recently published her first novel, Jillian also writes for her local Pasadena newspaper and on Examiner.com.