a guide to stargazing

Stargazing is an incredible way to see the beauty of the natural world and taking time to look up at a canopy of stars is something that everyone can enjoy. You can venture into a forest to find a clearing on a clear night and see some phenomenal things. With this in mind, we have decided to put together this guide to help you really make the most of nature.

stars and forest

When is the Best Time to Go?

Deciding when to go stargazing is more important than deciding where to go. However, to get the best views, you will most probably have to travel to a remote location, away from any light pollution. Autumn and winter offer the best times to stargaze, and this is due to the evenings getting darker sooner because of daylight saving time. Winter often brings clear skies which obviously make it a lot easier to see the sky.

Where to Go?

There are a number of places throughout the UK which are renowned for being the perfect stargazing. Some of our favourites are Exmoor National Park, Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia National Park, North York National Park, Yorkshire Dales National Park, Northumberland National Park and Kelly Heath in Norfolk. Just remember that wherever you pick, it will need to be somewhere with little to no light pollution to have the best results.

What You Will Need

using a telescope

To be honest, you don’t need a whole lot of equipment to see the stars because if you go somewhere which is dark enough, you can see a lot of the sky with the naked eye; although, it should be noted that your eyes may take around 20-minutes to adjust to the darkness. Any light, even from a torch, will set them back; however, you can reduce this by putting a red filter on it. If you are really committed to seeing the sky, then it is worth investing in a telescope, and a camera to capture the scene forever. You can also use binoculars instead of a telescope, and these are much cheaper and easier to carry; however, you should look for ones with glass lenses and if you can, get anti-fogging ones.

If you own a smartphone, you can download apps like The Night Sky. This particular app is fantastic as you just point it at the sky and it will identify exactly what you are looking at. If you would rather identify the stars yourself, you can with the aid of star charts which work just as well.

Starting Out

When the sun goes down, it does get a lot chillier, so you may find it a little colder. We definitely advise putting on enough layers so that you can focus on the activity at hand. This is particularly important during the winter time as if you are shivering you won’t be focusing on the stars and sky.

What Are You Looking For?

moon behind tree

The night sky is constantly changing depending on the time of year and the time of night. Of course, there are certain constellations which are easy to spot like Orion’s Belt and The Plough, but there are also loads more! If you can get your timing right, you could even have the chance to view a meteor shower which is truly incredible to see; however, this will require a lot of patience so might not be great for younger children.

Orion’s Belt is one of the easiest constellations to spot. Look to the south-west for three bright stars nestled close together to form an almost straight line. The two stars to the north are his shoulders, and the two to the south are his feet.

The Plough is another constellation which is easy to spot if you imagine that you’re looking for the shape of a saucepan. It is visible all year from the UK, and if you imagine a line rising from the last two stars in the Plough, it will lead up to the North Star!

Planets are often the easiest things to spot with the naked eye, as Venus can be incredibly bright which usually means it is the first and last thing you see in the sky.  If you find somewhere with very little light pollution, you can easily make out our galaxy, the Milky Way. This is a flat spiral, but from our perspective, it looks like a bright band across the sky.

Stargazing is an activity which can be enjoyed by all ages and is particularly good when you are glamping, UK. With so many beautiful places to see the nights sky, where will you be heading?

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