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.

See as the Milky Way arches majestically across the sky on clear autumn evenings and star clusters sparkle like diamonds on black velvet, all from the comfort of our luxury holiday cottage.

star-gazingThe Stargazing Seasons

Spring

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.

Summer

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.

Autumn

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

also look fantastic. Meteors showers like the Leonids can put on a good show in November.

Winter

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.

Dark Sky Discovery Sites

The Forest of Bowland is now a Dark Sky Discovery Site.  The Forest of Bowland AONB is now officially recognised as an where you can view the skies at their best!

Websites and Apps

Here are a few astro apps that you might want to view to help you understand the night sky.

• 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

• Google Skymap – identifies the stars using GPS when you hold up the phone to the sky

• Meteor Shower Calendar – tells you which showers are due and whether the moon will spoil the show

• Aurora Alert predicts possible Northern Lights displays