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Guardian list of UK dark skies sites


old_eyes
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In an article about the announcement of Sark as the world's first 'dark-skies island', the Guardian published this morning a list of "the best places to see stars in Britain":

  • Sark
  • Kielder forest, Northumberland
  • Galloway forest, Scotland
  • Kelling heath, Norfolk
  • Stonehenge, Wiltshire
  • Wenlock Edge, Shropshire
  • Winsford Hill, Somerset
  • Mam Tor, Derbyshire
  • Black Down, Sussex
  • Knighton, Powys
  • Penbryn Beach, Ceredigion

A couple of those are accessible to me. Anyone have a longer list or want to agree or disagree with this list?

old_eyes

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Hi old_eyes,

Hmm, well Stonehenge is just down the road so will have a look at that one night. However, I live in the countryside so there are lots of places that I can go round here.

Best regards

Chris

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Hi old_eyes,

Hmm, well Stonehenge is just down the road so will have a look at that one night. However, I live in the countryside so there are lots of places that I can go round here.

Best regards

Chris

I think it is identifiable areas for the general reader rather than specific locations. So what's it like down there. I'm guessing from your comment pretty good.

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Hi old_eyes,

I have not bought a telescope yet, have got my list ready but off to Astrofest and meeting up with others this evening.

However, that said, with my completely untrained telescoping eyes, there are some good areas here.

Best regards

Chris

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Hi old_eyes,

I have not bought a telescope yet, have got my list ready but off to Astrofest and meeting up with others this evening.

However, that said, with my completely untrained telescoping eyes, there are some good areas here.

Best regards

Chris

Enjoy Astrofest. I went last year and its good to see so much kit 'in the flesh'.

I started just over a year ago and SGL was a fantastic resource to halp me decide what to invest in, and continues to be a fantastic resource for solving all the problems that crop up. Somewhere on SGL is the answer to anything we might wish to know. The members are amazingly knowledgeable.

When you get your telescope, don't forget to report how you find it and what you are looking at.

old_eyes

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Hi old_eyes,

Yes I have found this site amazing.

On a lot of photography forums when newbies come on asking the same old question they will often get short shrift from the oldies.

However, on here you get more of the same question being asked and yet only polite repsonses! Really friendly bunch.

I have my list as given and tweaked by all on the site. Only last night it seems my scope is changing from a 120ED to an 80Ed which I am now aware is better for a newbie and the AP which I want to do.

So looking foward to seeing kit as you say in the flesh on Friday.

Not likely to do anything other than report how I get on as I will need my hand holding for some time to come!!!!

Best regards

Chris

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I'm less than 15 miles from Winsford Hill, within a stone's throw of the eastern edge of Exmoor. On the clear nights in January it has been dark enough here to see the Milky Way across a large proportion of the sky.

The only major thing that spoils the darkness for me is Taunton, about ten miles to the east, which has a halo of light over it up to between 5 and 10 deg above the horizon. Winsford is about the same distance from Minehead, though that's smaller than Taunton so I'd say it's likely to be pretty good. Of course it's also in the middle of nowhere ;)

James

Edited by JamesF
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Hi old_eyes,

Hmm, well Stonehenge is just down the road so will have a look at that one night. However, I live in the countryside so there are lots of places that I can go round here.

Best regards

Chris

Stonehenge has busy roads on either side (one being the A303) so it can be difficult with car headlightes. There are many dark sky sites on Salisbury Plain but you can find your stargazing interrupted by military training.

The best place I have found is around the car park at the Westbury White Horse/Bratton Camp.

Barry

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Here's the original article:

The best places for stargazing in Britain | Science | The Guardian

Whilst the headline says "the best places to go", the actual list is introduced as "10 of the darkest places to go stargazing in mainland Britain", so it shouldn't be a surprise that Northern Ireland isn't on the list or that many of them are where star parties happen.

James

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Hmmm, I wouldn't exactly call Mam Tor dark. There's orange to the East from Sheffield and Orange to the west from Manchester. The bit in the middle is reasonable.

Semi-dark might be a better description. The top of Howden reservoir was reasonable too - until the access road collapsed a couple of months ago :)

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North Wales gets no mention Surprised there as we have plenty as you get in land

....mmmm Knighton's a fairly sizable town as far as Mid Wales goes. There are certainly darker places to be found further North and West.

Looks like this guy is reporting with little actual knowledge of these sites.

That said- I have been sailing near Sark and it's quite dark but Gurnsey (population 70,000) is only 6 miles away.......

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  • Wenlock Edge, Shropshire
No, you get huge light domes from Telford, Much Wenlock and Bridgnorth. Five miles from Much Wenlock and it's pitch black?! Absolute rubbish! It's quite hilly, lots of trees to boot, Wenlock Edge is actually forest duh... so you don't get a good amount of sky to view. The veil nebula has been viewed from here? With what, mk1 eyeballs? :D Used to holiday in that area.
  • Knighton, Powys
Again, total rubbish. You need to be well away from Knighton to appreciate dark skies.

I do wish these journalists would get it right for a change. :( The author in question has no idea..........

Edited by Beulah
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I see no Surrey, Hampshire or Berkshire on that list.

*sigh*

I'm in Berkshire. It's too close to London for any dark skies. And Reading and Slough pumping even more light up there. Though apparently around Henley it's supposed to be not too bad...

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