Star Gazing in Scotland 

Star Gazing in Scotland 

by Scottish Tourer October 28, 2022

With the darker nights coming in now there is more opportunity to get out in the dark and look into the sky to see what is out there. The new Dark Sky Park in Galloway is easily accessible by the Visitors Centre in Kirroughtree and offers us the perfect opportunity to star gaze like a professional. This area can allow you to spot over 7000 stars and planets with your own eyes without the need for any equipment. You can occasionally see the silver band of the milky way which is really extraordinary sight when you realise what it is you are looking at. There are lots of places however to get a glimpse of a new constellation or simply enjoy being in peace and quiet under the stars on a clear night. There’s something really special about watching the sun set and the skies come out. 

What is the best constellation to spot?

For a beginner and with the naked eye the easiest to spot is the Plough or the Big Dipper. This can also allow you to find the Pole star however I am no expert there are top tips at the Dark Sky Park to help you understand how to locate these. Its a really lovely place to go with others as often its helpful if there is two sets of eyes as you a tune to what you are looking for. 

The Development of the Site

In 2009 which was the Year of Astronomy Galloway were asked if they felt they would like to be a Dark Sky Park. The location is unique as it is in the South West of Scotland and can therefore open itself up to a wider group of people and increase the people travelling there over the winter months when the tourist season is usually quieter. Being the first Dark Sky Park out of the United States. There are so many benefits to having the area including improved habitats for any animals located there and also the reduction in pollution improves us as humans health. It helps us to begin to look at the bigger picture in what we need to be doing to help with our natural environment. 

The Mills Observatory in Dundee is another top location to get a glimpse of the sky and what else is out there.  This was gifted to Dundee in 1935 and it was Britains first purpose built Observatory. Here you can gain perspective of the skies through a Victorian Refracting Telescope. During the months of October to March you can learn about planets, the sky and of course the stars. There is so much information here regarding comets, meteors and the galaxy you can really loose yourself here. In the summer months it is open on selected dates and they often have family workshops which is a really great way to ignite some spark into the younger generation on what else is out there. So if your heading out in a motorhome over the winter months this is a fantastic point to stop at and its not far from our Scottish Tourer base. 

Those illusive Northern Lights are something on many peoples lists to see and do. It’s often a surprise to many that you don’t have to leave Scotland to get a good view of them either. Those dancing green lights can literally be seen on our doorstep. More Northern regions offer the best chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis however you can sometimes see it nearer the South. 
Many of our customers visit the Islands, and due to their low pollution levels they are a great place to gaze at the skies. The Isle of Coll in the Inner Hebrides can be classed as a Dark Skies Island and it is unbelievably one of two in the whole world! There are hardly any street lights alongside a very small population and that population work tirelessly to ensure they maintain and preserve the beauty of their island. You can actually book stargazing weekends here and you need little to no knowledge to embark on this trip. 

Northern Lights

The benefits to star gazing in a motorhome is that you can travel to where the best viewing is going to be. This will very much depend of when you choose your holiday, where you are heading and of course the weather plays a huge part in it to. So if your after a star gazing holiday you do not need to travel hundreds of miles away, the sky is literally on our doorstep waiting to be explored! Head over to our main site to book your next camper van holiday with Scottish Tourer. 


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