We took part in the National Parks Dark Skies Festival in February 2017. The Festival saw events across the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorks Moors National Parks. One event here in Sedbergh was a talk, ‘A Voyage Round the Universe’, by Richard Darn (contact him for advice on equipment buying), and another was a talk on astro-photography by Pete Collins. They have kindly passed on these links to useful resources:
Stellarium – interactive planetarium programme. Easy to use and shows the night sky realistically. Available for Windows and Mac, and free.
Heavens-above.com – great for finding out when the ISS will be passing over, moon rise, set times, phases, comet and planet info, times of astronomical darkness and much more.
Google Skymap – identifies the stars using GPS when you hold up a phone to the sky. Free.
Meteor Shower Calendar – tells you when showers are due and if the moon will spoil the show. Free.
Aurora Alert – predicts possible Northern Lights displays. Small fee.
Lancaster University’s Aurora Watch allows you to sign up for free aurora alerts.
British Geological Survey’s alerts service is another web site offering aurora predictions.
Sources of Information
Heaton Park Astronomy Group has a Guide for Beginners with an introduction to wide-field astrophotography, plus choosing a telescope and binoculars.
Good Astronomy Shops
Green Witch – West Yorkshire-based reliable astro retailer.
Grovers Optical – Northallerton-based reliable astro retailer.
Rother Valley Optics – South Yorkshire-based reliable astro retailer.
UK Astro Buy and Sell – Well used by astronomers to buy and sell used gear.