If you’re an astrophile (someone who loves stars) like the majority of us over here on Daufuskie Island, then this is the place to be. It seems strange, of course, that this little island could be such an amazing place to stargaze, and yet, it is! On cloudless nights, stars can be seen from just about anywhere on the island. Whether you’re back in the woods, sitting on the beach, taking a stroll down a dirt road, or staring out your front window, its stars as far as the eye can see. And whether you’re well-versed in clusters and constellations, or you simply like to gaze for the sake of it, Daufuskie can fulfill every stargazer’s needs.
Now, some may be wondering, what it is about Daufuskie that allows for such nice stargazing? It turns out, there’s a few reasons for this.
For one thing, the lack of light pollution on Daufuskie is a huge contributor to star visibility. Light pollution is the brightening of the sky caused by artificial light sources. This could be cars, street lamps, houses, and more. With the surrounding sky brighter, there’s little to no contrast between the naturally dark night sky and the bright stars or planets, making it impossible for people to see them. Lucky for Daufuskie, we lack a lot of those light pollution contributors. This allows stars and planets to shine as bright as they please against that dark sky backdrop.
Another reason for Daufuskie’s amazing stargazing is the lack of tall buildings and or built-up structures. One problem that people living in cities and suburbs experience when it comes to star gazing is the number of disruptions above the horizon. Here on Daufuskie, the most disruptive object one will find in the night sky is a tree, and luckily, these are easily escapable. A quick walk or drive to any of our public beaches will solve that problem in a heartbeat.
With the lack of light pollution and absence of tall structures, it’s no wonder that Daufuskie’s stargazing is as good as it is. There are, however, a few other things to keep in mind when planning a night of stargazing on the island.
Firstly, the moon and its cycles. The best time to go stargazing (as a general rule) is a few days before or a few days after a new moon. As was mentioned before, light pollution tends to be a large issue faced by those wishing to star gaze, and a full moon can be just as problematic as any artificial light source.
Another thing to think about is clouds. Those pesky, pesky clouds. This is something that can be difficult, if not downright impossible to anticipate. Our suggestion: just go with the flow. If you’re staying over on Daufuskie for multiple nights, odds are you’ll have multiple chances to see stars. Don’t get your heart set on one specific night! You never know what those clouds could be up to.
Lastly, and this suggestion is for those hoping to learn a little more about what they’re looking at, download a stargazing app on your cell phone. These apps allow you to scan the night sky with your phone’s camera, giving you the names of stars, constellations, clusters, and planets as you move your phone across the horizon. What’s extra nice about these stargazing apps is that they still work even if clouds decide to crash your party! Nothing can stop a determined stargazer on Daufuskie Island.
Interested in spending a few nights on Daufuskie Island (with hopes of seeing stars as far as the eye can see)? Check out our recommended overnight accommodations here.
Want to learn more about stars in general? We recommend checking out this website – https://stellarium-web.org/ This website allows you to see the stars from any location of your choosing, during the current time of year.