The Delights Of Our Dark Skies
30 May 2019
Standing at the edge of the loch on a clear night; looking to the heavens will convince you that there is no better place for stargazing than right here at Kingairloch. You will be astounded by the delights that our night skies can present due to the minimal light pollution.
The big dark sky above The Steadings.
Here are a few reasons why our night skies are a cornucopia of star gazing delights:
- Fewer People creates less light
After cloudy skies, light pollution is the stargazer’s biggest enemy. Scotland’s rural population is around 9p/km2 and comparing this with England’s 400p/km2, it means that there is a lot let less light pollution.
- The long Winter nights
At the beginning and end of winter, daylight tends to last from around 7am to 6pm. The daylight gradually reduces through winter until the shortest day of the year on 21 December at around 8.45am to 3.30pm, at which point the days begin to get longer again. The timings above are for Edinburgh – the further north you go, the later the sun will rise, and the earlier it will set. (Taken from the Visit Scotland website). Consequently, the longer the nights allow for greater opportunities for stargazing.
- The elusive Northern Lights are sometimes spotted
Scotland is the best stargazing UK location to see the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, as they are more familiarly known. We have seen them on a handful of occasions here at Kingairlch, so if the conditions are perfect you may be lucky enough to enjoy them on your holiday. Download the Aurora app before setting off on holiday to see if you are in with a chance of spotting them.
- Magical sunrises
During the winter months guests are often treated to the most wonderful sunrises over Loch Linnhe. Waking up to the tide lapping on the shore’s edge and the golden hues appearing over the Appin Hills, you could think you’ve woken up in paradise.
Finally, here are five stargazing tips.
- Head for the dark – stars are shy;the darker it is, the more the stars will come out. So wait until it has got very dark outside.
- Adjust your eyes – you’ll see 10 times more stars 20 minutes after switching off your torch
- Take binoculars– you can see plenty with the naked eye, but a small pair of binoculars will take you to the next level
- Use an app – try Google Sky Maps which will tell you exactly what you are seeing in the sky
- Wrap up –Scottish winter nights are not for the faint-hearted. Layers upon layers and a good pair of gloves are essential, along with hot drinks.