Dark Sky Season 2011-12
As summer fades and the nights get darker astronomers start to come out to play. Stargazing becomes more possible as the length of day shortens and more dark hours become available. If you’re thinking about stargazing over the next few months – maybe making a get-away to somewhere dark and free of light pollution – then you’re probably going to do that over a weekend, and not every weekend will offer good dark skies. If the Moon is up – especially a full Moon – then you may as well stay in town, as the Moon produces its own natural light pollution to spoil your view.
The following weekends fall within what I have termed the “dark sky season”, and on any of these weekends the night sky will have darkened by 9pm (sometimes much earlier) so you won’t have to stay up too late to enjoy the stars, and the Moon is absent so (cloud permitting) you’ll get a stunning view.
30 Sep – 02 Oct
21-23 Oct (stargazing breaks at Stocks Hotel, Sark)
18-20 Nov (stargazing breaks at the Selkirk Arms Hotel, Kirkcudbright)
25-27 Nov (stargazing breaks at Kirroughtree House Hotel, Newton Stewart)
17-19 February (stargazing breaks at Kirroughtree House Hotel, Newton Stewart)
24-26 February (stargazing breaks at the Selkirk Arms Hotel, Kirkcudbright)
I’m also running stargazing breaks at Glenapp Castle on a variety of dates in October and November 2011.
Of course you can stargaze on weekends other than these, but earlier than late September, or later than late March, the skies won’t darken until later, and during the summer months not at all.
Also, you can go stargazing during the week too, just make sure that the Moon won’t be up to spoil your view.