Have you caught the star-gazing bug? Around 36,000 people have already taken part in Stargazing LIVE BBC-led events around the UK this year and many thousands more have joined partnership events in their local area. In 2012, it seems that star parties, astrophotography and starry night walks are fast becoming a top choice for outdoors fans.
Attending an organised star-gazing event is a great way to find out more about our supernova, star clusters and galaxies. And, as the warmer weather of spring comes along (and aren’t we looking forward to that?!), why not head off for your own star-gazing camping adventure?
Getting away form the bright lights of towns and cities is the key to being able to better see the night’s sky. Without artificial lighting it is easier to see the stars, but you will also need to keep an eye on the weather forecast to ensure clear skies for the best viewing conditions.
Make star gazing a comfortable adventure
If you’re planning to camp out make sure you take the perfect item of camping furniture with you. A camping chair or a blow-up camping sofa are great choices, or else choose a waterproof blanket on which to lie down. Many people prefer to lie down on their backs to star gaze to save their necks from getting sore, rather than sitting down to stare up at the sky. Add warm outdoor clothing and a sleeping bag for extra comfort. Lying – or sitting – still can make even the warmest evenings seem a little chilly.
It’s also a good idea to have looked up information about what stars you might see at certain times of the year. Take a star-gazing guide with you, too.
UK's top three Dark Sky Places
These three areas have been identified as fantastic places to see stars at night. They are:
Galloway Forest, south west Scotland
Sark Island on the Channel Islands
Exmoor National Park, south-west England.
The first to be awarded this special status by the International Dark Sky Association was Galloway Forest Park. Lighting experts were brought in to ensure the skies above the forest park were pitch black at night. Part of the selection process involved giving a rating via a sky quality meter, which measures the darkness of the sky overhead.
To find out about other stargazing events near you check out the star-gazing events finder