Stargazing in Scotland

A map of the UK at night with St Andrews circled on it

Have you ever tried stargazing in Scotland before? If not then read on and find out how you can have your very own stargazing experience right here in Fife. What is more, stargazing is completely free and can be enjoyed by all. Here at Elderburn Lodges, we are in the perfect location to enjoy looking at the night time stars. We are lucky to be in a quiet rural area with very little light pollution and great views of the skies (when the weather is clear), so it can offer you the best stargazing experience.  As well as this, being on your holidays means you can stay up late to absorb the night sky stars. So let’s find out a bit more…

What is involved in stargazing?

A person stargazing the night sky

Basically, as the title itself states, it is gazing at the stars. Lie back and stare into space to see what the night sky has on offer. See if you can spot the various star constellations which change all year round. In a really dark sky you can see up to 7,000 stars! However, this is only a fraction of the 70 thousand million, million, million stars in the universe! Sadly today we experience this all too infrequently. Did you know that it is estimated that 85% of the UK population has never experienced a truly dark sky!

Top Tips for when you go stargazing

A family enjoying stargazing
  1. Be sure to check the weather forecast. A clear and dark night before a full moon are the best conditions for stargazing. You can check how clear the visibility is here and even see when the International Space Station will be passing over!
  2. A great way to understand what you are seeing above you is to download a stargazing App. Starmaps 2, Skymapplus, Skyviewlite, Star walk and Google Sky are to name but a few.
  3. Also, you need to remember to wrap up warm. Scotland is not the warmest of climates and temperatures drop at night. As well as this you will be sitting still and you don’t want your experience cut short by being cold! Why not bring a warming drink with you?
  4. The later it is, the darker the sky, so the better the stargazing will be. Give your eyes 5-10 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Once they have adjusted you will see more stars.
  5. See if you can spot any moving objects such as meteors (shooting stars). As well as these you may spot a satellite station orbiting the earth. This looks like a star that moves slowly and steadily across the night sky. And if you see flashing green lights, no it’s not a UFO, but a passing aeroplane!
  6. A compass is also useful to help you find particular star constellations.
  7. And finally, your camera to capture the awe on your fellow stargazers faces!

How about visiting an observatory?

Star constellations in the night sky

Right next door to us in St Andrews is The University Observatory. The James Gregory telescope is open on the first Wednesday of each month, where you can see the country’s largest telescope in action. Furthermore, there is an astronomer on hand to explain what you are seeing and answer any of your queries. Guided tours can also be arranged and there are also two open nights each year.

We would love to hear all about your Stargazing experience

A family together watching the night sky

We’d love to hear about your stargazing experience at Elderburn Lodges, please share with us what you’ve seen and when. You can tag us on Twitter: @ElderburnLodges, Instagram: @ElderburnLodges, or Facebook @ElderburnHolidayHomes, and include the hashtag #StargazingAtElderburn. You can also contact us here to share your experience or enquire about staying with us in one of our luxury lodges. Happy Stargazing!

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