Will you climb a hill or relax in our our hot tub to see the stars?
Whether a casual star watcher or already experienced with a telescope Monmouthshire is great place for stargazing. The wonder of the galaxy is enough to enthral young and old and Wales is increasingly regarded as one of the best countries in the world from which to be amazed by space. Many people coming to stay in the Wye Valley are so used to light pollution at home that they don’t notice the stars. Look up, look up! There is a whole eternity awaiting above you!
Serenogg- the Welsh for Star Studded.
The Brecon Beacons National Park became the country’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012, and there are dozens of places around the National Park, including in Monmouthshire, where you can stop off and survey spectacularly clear night skies.
At its simplest no equipment is needed for stargazing. Just dark cloudless skies and the naked eye. To enjoy looking at the stars always wear warm clothes and take a hot drink and a deckchair if possible. Drive to a safe parking place, like the top car park on the Sugarloaf mountain near Abergavenny. Turn all the lights off and give your eyes 10-15 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Then look up and be amazed. You’ll probably be able to see more than 1,000 stars. With a planisphere or a basic star map for guidance you’ll even pick out our own galaxy, the Milky Way, stretching across the sky.
In the hot tub at Foxes Reach, and despite houses nearby, or gazing across the Wye Valley from Tintern Abbey Cottage you can see masses of stars on a clear night.
Top tips for stargazing https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/top-tips-for-stargazing
There are plenty of unofficial places from which to enjoy the stars but Monmouthshire has five official Dark Sky Discovery Sites – Abergavenny Castle, Black Rock Picnic Site, Caldicot Castle & Country Park, Goytre Wharf and Skenfrith Castle. These are sites with very low levels of light pollution which are darker than the surrounding areas, and which are therefore perfect for stargazing. These sites meet either one or two star darkness levels as below:
One Star Site
The seven main stars in Orion are visible to the naked eye. Typically this means away from, or shielded from, bright lights such as street lights, security lights or approaching car headlights.
Two Star Site
The Milky Way is visible to the naked eye. This will be a much darker site only found in more rural areas.
More information on Dark Sky Discovery Sites can be found at www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk
Enjoy this lovely film from the Brecon Beacons National Park which gives a taste of the glories of the night.
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