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Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park - Galloway and Southern ... ... your visit to Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, home to some of the world’s darkest night skies. Whether you’ve never

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  • Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

    Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park

    Stargazers Welcome

  • Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

    Introduction In this pack you’ll find plenty of information on how to make the most of your visit to Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, home to some of the world’s darkest night skies.

    Whether you’ve never really looked at the night sky before, of whether you’re a life-long astronomy enthusiast, the dark skies above Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park will amaze you, but to the beginner they can seem quite daunting.

    Countless stars scattered overhead, the Milky Way stretching from horizon to horizon, shooting stars, planets, comets, the northern lights, all may be visible on a clear night in Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, and in this pack you’ll find out how to recognise them, where is best to go to see the dark skies, and what equipment you’ll need to bring with you to ensure you have a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience.

    Contents

    1. Title page

    2. Introduction and Contents 3. What is Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park? 4. Map of Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park 5. Keeping the dark skies dark 6. Observing the dark skies: Where, When, What and How 7. Where to see the dark skies: near you & Dark Sky Rangers 8. Where to see the dark skies: local map 9. Where to see the dark skies: within Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park

    10. Where to see the dark skies: within Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park (map)

    11. When to go out 12. How to observe: what should you take with you? 13. What you will see: learning your way around the sky 14. What you will see: simple star charts 15. What you will see: pocket star charts 16. Things to look for: stars and constellations 17. Things to look for: the Moon

    18. Things to look for: planets 19. Things to look for: the Milky Way 20. Things to look for: other galaxies and nebulae 21. Things to look for: shooting stars 22. Things to look for: satellites 23. Things to look for: northern lights 24. List of useful websites 25. List of good astronomy magazines and books

  • Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

    What is Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park?

    Forestry Commission Scotland has established Galloway Forest Park as the first Dark Sky Park in the UK, in 2009, one of only five in the world. Now there are over 40 across the world. It was announced on Monday the 16th November 2009 in the International Year of Astronomy and was the stimulation to develop more dark Sky Places across the UK in the coming years.

    What is a Dark Sky Park?

    The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) awards deserving places around the world the status of Dark Sky Park, Reserve or Community. They define a dark sky place as: The award-winning Dark Sky Places Program was started by IDA in 2001 to encourage communities around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting polices and public education. A dark Sky Park is described as “a place possessing exceptional starry night skies and natural nocturnal habitat where light pollution is mitigated and natural darkness is valuable as an important educational, cultural, scenic, and natural resource”.

    What does Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park have that is so special?

    Very dark skies indeed!

    Whereas in a city you might see only a few dozen of the brightest stars,

    in Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, on a clear night, you will be dazzled by thousands of stars.

    Just how dark are the skies in Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park? Astronomers measure the darkness of the sky on the Bortle Scale, a nine- point scale that describes the level of light pollution overhead.

    Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park has a Bortle class of 2, defined as a “truly dark site”. The only class of sky darker than this is class 1, “utterly unpolluted sky”. Nowhere in the UK, or indeed mainland Europe for that matter, has a sky with Bortle class 1, and so the skies above Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park are certainly amongst the darkest skies in the world, and probably the darkest skies you will ever see.

    Things you can see from Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park that you’ll never see from a city sky include: detail within the grey band of the Milky Way (see page 19); other galaxies and nebulae visible with the naked eye (see page 20); dozens of shooting stars (see page 21); the northern lights (see page 23); and, of course, true darkness!

  • Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park- Stargazers Welcome

    Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

    Map of Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park

    Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park covers most of Galloway Forest Park, with a

    core area in the centre of the park where there are no external lights at

    all. Since 2009 the park boundary was extended to include the new

    Scottish Dark Sky Observatory to the North of Loch Doon.

  • Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

    Keeping the Dark Skies Dark

    There are three main types of light pollution: sky glow, that lights up the night sky and spoils our view of the stars; glare, that can dazzle us when present in a dark place; and light trespass, the spilling of light beyond the area being lit.

    Each of these kinds of light pollution are forms of obtrusive light, that can annoy stargazers and anyone wishing to experience darkness, waste money, waste electricity, and result in the unnecessary production of greenhouse gases.

    The most important thing to remember is: think before you light! Is the light necessary? If so, is it the right brightness? Might it be a nuisance to others? What can you do to minimize these things?

    In general, don’t overlight, turn lights off when you don’t need them, consider turning your outside lights off at a certain time of night (say after 10pm), and make sure your lights are shielded and pointing in the right direction!

    All images on this page from Institute of Lighting Engineers

  • Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

    Dark Skies: The Where, When, What and How of Observing

    There is so much to see in the night sky on a clear night that it might not be obvious where to begin.

    You also want to make sure you go somewhere that lets you see the night sky in all its glory; the darkest place you can find, away from the glare of lights.

    Knowing what time of night – and indeed what time of year – to observe is important too.

    Finally, you will need to make sure you bring with you everything you need for a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable stargazing experience.

    The following few pages will tell you all you need to know to get started.

    (NB you do not need to use a telescope to observe! See page 12)

  • Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

    Where to see the dark skies: near you Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park covers 300 square miles of woodland, forest, and open moor, but you needn’t venture far into the park itself to experience the amazing dark skies. Even if you are observing within the town of Newton Stewart or another town of village (where the streetlights can cause a fair amount of glare and spoil the view of keen stargazers) there are still steps you can take which will make your sky much darker.

    1. Try to get away from any sources of bright light, such as street lights, security lighting, or illuminated signs. While it will be virtually impossible to avoid all sources of light nearby, you can try and stand so that much of the light is blocked by a building or other obstacle. 2. Avoid observing on or near a main road, where the glare of cars’ headlights can ruin your dark adaption (see page 12)

    3. Safety is very important, so make sure wherever you go has good solid, even ground for you to stand on 4. By definition these local sites will be within walking distance, and so you can take the opportunity of the night walk to get your eyes used to the dark Another great way of watching the night sky is with or own personal guide. The Dark Sky Park has teamed up with the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and trained our very own Biosphere Dark Sky Rangers. You can find their details Here and book them for a fee to make your night of stargazing even more memorable. Contact Morag Paterson on Tel: 01644 430 004 Mob: 07917 102693 www.leemingpaterson.com https://www.facebook.com/Leeming-Paterson-222973075345/timeline/ Contact Elizabeth Tindal on Tel: 01671820814 or Mob: 07842241141 Email: Elizabeth.Tindal@FreelanceRanger.com http://www.freelanceranger.com/ https://twitter.com/FreelanceRanger https://www.facebook.com/FreelanceRanger Contact Matthew McFadzean on Mob: 07548668737 or Tel: 01387840340 Email: equinoxboy@aol.com Contact Jesse Beaman and Helen Cockburn on 07340 518 498 Email ViridianSkyTours@gmail.com www.ViridianSkies.com www.facebook.com/viridianskytours www.twitter.com/ViridianSkyArt On the following page is a map of the local area, with good stargazing areas highlighted, but feel free to explore to find other good sites.

  • Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

    Where to see the dark skies: a local map

    You should remove this page and insert a map of your local area, highlighting places where your guests can safely observe.

    Here is an example, based on the Galloway Arms Hotel, taken from

    Google maps:

  • Copyright STFC & FESDSP 2016

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