A Dark Skies town

A lot of the street lamps were changed in 2016 to spill less light where it’s not needed. You can enjoy stars, planets, the Milky Way and meteors – and sometimes, as you can see at the top of this page, the aurora borealis. So if you’re visiting don’t forget to bring your star map and a bit of red cellophane to go on your torch.

Useful dark skies 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.

ISS Detector and ISS Spotter – both will alert you when the ISS is due to pass overhead. Both 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

Society for Popular Astronomy

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.

Novice’s Books

Turn Left at Orion

Stargazing for Dummies