Forest of Bowland Stargazing
The Forest of Bowland is a stargazer’s paradise – one of England’s darkest areas making it a great destination both by day and night with many organised local stargazing events for you to go to and learn about the wonders of the night sky.
The Milky Way arches majestically across the sky on clear autumn evenings and star clusters sparkle like diamonds on black velvet. It is a breath taking scene that adds so much to the unspoilt character of the area and provides the stuff of holiday memories.
The Forest of Bowland have 4 Dark Sky Discovery Sites on our doorstep is Gisbrun Forest Hub and close by are Beacon Fell Country Park, Crook O’Lune Picnic Site, and Slaidburn village.
Our local atronomer is called Robert Ince and it is possible to organise a private star gazing evening with him at Dale house. These are 2 hours and cost £200. For more information about him please look at his website www.stargazingevents.com
A great time to view brighter galaxies and planets like Jupiter and Saturn are also well placed. Nights are still long and the weather is warming up so it’s a great time to observe. The constellation of Leo dominates the southern sky.
You will see fewer stars around mid-summer, but watch out for ghostly noctilucent clouds high in the sky. You will also see tantalising glimpses of the Milky Way to whet appetites for the months ahead. Watch out for August’s Perseid meteor shower – one of the year’s best. Truly dark skies return at the end of July.
Together with the spring this is a prime viewing time. Nights are properly dark and the Milky Way is overhead in the evening, resembling a shimmering river of stars. Star clusters Stocks Reservoiralso look fantastic. Meteors showers like the Leonids can put on a good show in November.
The season of sparkling skies! The sky is often at its most transparent as temperatures dip. Glittering star clusters and magnificent constellations like Orion grace the sky, along with bright nebula. Wrap up warm and the rewards can be amazing.
There are many astro apps for iPhones, other smartphones and tablets running Android and Windows. They can help you understand the night sky and keep up with events.
Here’s a selection:
Sky Week – regularly updated digest of what’s in the sky – www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/ataglance
Pocket Universe – plenty of features and star maps – http://pocketuniverse.info
Meteor Shower Calendar – tells you which showers are due and whether the moon will spoil the show
Aurora Alert – predicts possible Northern Lights displays