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Where in England is truly dark? Milky Way very visible


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The Yorkshire Moors have some good dark sky sites that are reasonable accessible from Leeds.  As Stu says, long exposure astrophotography images are representations that no human eye can see; sadly th

Im a little bias because I like to promote Norfolk, but Kelling in North Norfolk can be amazing.  I live over on the west coast and even with nearby streetlamps the skies are fantastic.  Surrounded by

I'm lucky to live on the (mid) Northumberland coast at Embleton, the MW is very clear from our little garden on moonless nights. There are few other places around here with lovely dark skie

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Up here in N Yorks the darkest spot I have come across is Swaledale between Buttertubs and Tan Hill.  otherwise you will have to go further afield I imagine for example the Scottish Highlands.

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Im a little bias because I like to promote Norfolk, but Kelling in North Norfolk can be amazing.  I live over on the west coast and even with nearby streetlamps the skies are fantastic.  Surrounded by the North sea and miles of farmland seems to do the trick.  I'm guessing Scotland or rural Cornwall (isn't all Cornwall rural) would be brilliant...

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Down here in Devon, Exmoor National Park is supposedly one of the darkest places around. Dartmoor national park is also fairly dark but not protected, and as such you may have dark skies but still encounter stray light.

Wembury beach specifically is good for seeing the milky way. On a clear night you can see granulating details in the outer arms (i.e. going out to Cassiopeia and Orion). It is still rather light polluted from Plymouth however in the north and northeast.

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15 minutes ago, paulo leeds said:

Thanks. Would you agree that the Milky Way is not truly visible in Yorkshire Dales areas like Malham and Swaledale?

Not really.  It is quite good here North of Harrogate.  You can easily see the Cygnus rift.  It is very good in Swaledale.

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Not the darkest by any means, but the Milky Way is nicely visible from The Purbeck Peninsula in Dorest, and also from parts of the South Downs. Proper dark needs some of the places already mentioned, or Wales for instance.

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I'd take a look at one of the dark sky maps that are available.

Pick your location and either ask about specific area, go just go and look :). At worst the latter is a week end away :)

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8 minutes ago, paulo leeds said:

Can we realistically see it looking like this:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Rift_(astronomy)#/media/File:Laser_Towards_Milky_Ways_Centre.jpg

 

...in the UK?

Errrr, no unfortunately. That’s a long exposure so I doubt you can see it that bright anywhere :( 

I’d love to be proved wrong by some who live in mag 21.8 and transparent skies!

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9 minutes ago, paulo leeds said:

Can we realistically see it looking like this:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Rift_(astronomy)#/media/File:Laser_Towards_Milky_Ways_Centre.jpg

 

...in the UK?

Err no.  Thats an image which although is great does not resemble a visual experience anywhere.  That is also taken in the southern hemisphere which has better views.

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Perhaps to gain 'detail' you could pan your way i.e. through Cepheus, Cygnus, Aquila with a pair of hand held binoculars. Research, learn more about what to look for, dark nebulae (clouds of dark dust blocking the light of distant stars) are a prime and abundant example. Good transparency and at least 20.2+ magnitude sky, as mentioned Swaledale will be a good location for you. 

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As mentioned by Stu, some good skies in parts of Wales.     There used to be an astronomy B&B at Madogs Wells in mid Wales.   It was in a valley and the skies there could be fabulous.  Unfortunately it does rain a lot though.......

Some of my astronomy club go to Haw Wood Farm in east Suffolk, they reckon it’s great.   Kelling has been mentioned, it can be very good indeed in spite of nearby Sheringham Cromer and Holt.

Ed.

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

Errrr, no unfortunately. That’s a long exposure so I doubt you can see it that bright anywhere :( 

The Yorkshire Moors have some good dark sky sites that are reasonable accessible from Leeds.  As Stu says, long exposure astrophotography images are representations that no human eye can see; sadly they can make the real sky underwhelming for those new to astronomy.

If you give your eyes a good half hour to become dark adapted in a dark site like the Moors,  the magnitude and majesty of the night sky are an experience no photographer can capture.

https://gostargazing.co.uk/events/locations/sutton-bank/

Drink in the solitude and experience eternity.

John

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1 hour ago, iapa said:

I was just checking some site, and Kielder is about all that is left in England :(

I checked this light pollution map and most of the locations listed above are Bortle 4 at Zenith.  Kielder, Exmoor, and Dartmoor Parks are all Bortle 3.  There appear to be some Bortle 2 skies in the Cambrian Mountains and Galloway Forest NP.  If you get far enough north and west in Scotland, they've got Bortle 1 skies.  For reference for me, at least, the Texas Star Party skies are Bortle 2 and Big Bend NP to the south is Bortle 1.  I'm surprised there are still such dark areas in Britain.

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17 minutes ago, NGC 1502 said:

As mentioned by Stu, some good skies in parts of Wales.     There used to be an astronomy B&B at Madogs Wells in mid Wales.   It was in a valley and the skies there could be fabulous.  Unfortunately it does rain a lot though.......

I forgot about the weather there in GB, so not really a fair comparison with west Texas where it is generally clear and dry.

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5 minutes ago, Louis D said:

I checked this light pollution map and most of the locations listed above are Bortle 4 at Zenith.  Kielder, Exmoor, and Dartmoor Parks are all Bortle 3.  There appear to be some Bortle 2 skies in the Cambrian Mountains and Galloway Forest NP.  If you get far enough north and west in Scotland, they've got Bortle 1 skies.  For reference for me, at least, the Texas Star Party skies are Bortle 2 and Big Bend NP to the south is Bortle 1.  I'm surprised there are still such dark areas in Britain.


I would love to go to the Texas Star Party. And the one in the Florida Keys.

 

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if you are talking about England, the CPRE have stated that Herefordshire is the darkest county in England. South Shropshire and the adjoining Welsh Marches are very dark too and does not disappoint when it comes to viewing the Milky Way.

The most ideal place for a star party is Bortle 1, with EHU and good facilities. Not many places like that in England!

I think Dark Sky Wales have stated that areas of North Wales were measured as Bortle 1-2 ! Woah!

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49 minutes ago, Louis D said:

I forgot about the weather there in GB, so not really a fair comparison with west Texas where it is generally clear and dry.

You know how to make grown men and women weep, don't you Louis ?????

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1 hour ago, Louis D said:

For reference for me, at least, the Texas Star Party skies are Bortle 2 and Big Bend NP to the south is Bortle 1.

That wouldn’t be Texas Street, Leeds would it?  Bortle Scale 9.... at least! ?

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 22.06.32.png

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We used to use Malham as out meteor watching spot and yes you could see the MW very well but from the mid 90's we noticed the creep of LP from the south, though I guess if you were in one of the valleys it would still be good.

In England Keilder as been the best for me .

Uk, mid Wales & Galaway sp and not forgeting mistaking aurora when on Mull as LP from a neighbouring farm ?

Best ever for me was most of the way up Mt Teide closely followed by Portugal were we had to explain to a non dark adapted fellow astronomer that it was the MW and not cloud he was looking at.

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