Try something new this summer: Get into stargazing

WITH THE first eclipse since 1999 inspiring people across the UK to admire our night skies, I am here to share my favourite places that provide spellbinding views of our neighbouring galaxies. Although the sky at night is at its prime during the winter, don’t feel disheartened as there are plenty of extraordinary sky events taking place over the upcoming months. Throughout the summer, there will be a chance to see some remarkable and inspiring wonders of the sky. If you are new to stargazing, or just don’t know where to start, there are some upcoming events to keep your eye out for.

Photo - Alex Tanton

Photo – Alex Tanton

With Venus set to grace our skies on June 6th, the planet truly shines on July 10th as it heads back down towards the sun. This is a perfect opportunity to head outside and see our beautiful sister planet. Another unearthly event is due to happen on June 30th, with Venus and Jupiter seeming to only be a short distance away from each other. Venus being remarkably shy, this could make for an excellent opportunity to free your diary’s and head down to a suggested stargazing spot for an eye catching affair. August 12th brings us the impeccable Perseid meteor shower. With last year’s moon glowing so bright it became somewhat of an irritant to those wanting a dark sky to watch the action, this summer the moon is due to be a few days before new, therefore hopefully providing a clear darkened night for the incredible display.

With many more incredible events happening this summer, what better way to make the events a little more memorable that to take to some of the suggested spots with your binoculars and take in the incredible spectacle our galaxy has to offer:

Bwlch Nant Yr Arian

Bwlch Nant y Arian is an outstanding forest recreation centre in the heart of Mid Wales. This year they have put on events for new and aspiring stargazers to admire the alluring, mesmerizing and deeply divine sky at night. With the recreation centre only being 9.8 miles out of Aberystwyth, it is an easily accessible location for any keen locals to check out the striking constellations and what possible comets could be shooting about.

Aberystwyth Cliff Railway

Although this location is almost centre to the town, on a clear night the sky is covered in a blanket of stars. It does come with quite a hike but the view really is remarkable.  As it is a darkened area a torch and suitable walking shoes are advised so this location is prefect for the more adventurous stargazers. Whether you’re a student of Aber or a resident constitution hill is a fantastic place to admire the night sky.

Borth Coastal Walk

With Borth being 7 miles North of Aberystwyth, local stargazers can take to the open plan coast and soak in the glorious sights that the night sky has to offer. This location is not only beautiful in the day but, providing the Welsh weather permits it, is truly beautiful at night. With the coastal walk being 6.5 miles long, it provides an excellent length of pathway to set up shop and appreciate the view.

borth consti stars

There are many more incredible stargazing locations across Wales and the UK. For any keen stargazers, the Dark Sky Discovery website (http://www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/) is brilliant for keeping up with events and finding out all the best locations. You can also catch up on all the stargazing you missed over winter by tuning into Stargazing Live on BBCiplayer or YouTube. So get out those dusty binoculars, and marvel at the wonders of our universe.