Dark Skies in Powys
Light from distant galaxies can take thousands of years to reach us, so its a shame to lose it in the glare of a street lamp in the last millisecond of its journey. But in Mid Wales our skies are as dark as our nights are starry. And we aim to keep them that way. In fact Brecon Beacons National Park is the first place in Wales and only fifth in the whole world to be designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve, with Elan Valley being awarded designation a year later. So for a star-studded night that needn't cost the earth bring a flask of hot chocolate, a bite to eat, a pair of binoculars and a blanket and head to some of our favourite spots to see the best of our sparkly skies.
Or you could leave it to the experts and take a trip to the Spaceguard Centre at Knighton. Their telescopes are scanning the skies for Near Earth Objects - just in case any of them might be hurtling our way.
Whats more lots of our 'places to stay' now provide telescopes and sky maps so you can snuggle up and stargaze amongst fluffy towels and comfy beds.
Check out organised Go Star Gazing events here
Now that the entire Brecon Beacons National Park is an International Dark Sky Reserve, we intend to preserve our night skies, reduce energy wastage, help protect nocturnal wildlife and hold events related to the fascinating topic of astronomy. You're very welcome to come and experience our dark skies for yourself.
Just 10% of the UK population can open their curtains to a truly dark sky at night. The Welsh wilderness of the Elan Valley has, after several years hard work, been awarded International Dark Sky Park status. Here the stars shine bright providing a dazzling backdrop for the abundance of nocturnal wildlife across our Estate.
There are a number of special events held throughout the year where you can learn about the constellations in the company of experts and enthusiasts. Great for youngsters, photographers and all of us who thrill to the natural wonder of our world.
On 17th July 2015 International Dark Sky Park-Silver Tier status was granted by the International DarkSky Association (IDA) based in Arizona, USA to Dwr Cymru Welsh Water's 70 sq mile Elan Valley Estate which is managed by The Elan Valley Trust.
For more information please visit the EV Astronomy website
1) Stay cosyWrap up warm, standing around staring at the skies and being lost in a sea of stars is magical.. but it is also cold. Warm socks, gloves, hats and thick soled boots are all really important and will make your star gazing experience that much more enjoyable. Take a flask of something hot with you so that you can sit and enjoy a warm drink whilst you wait for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.
2) Take a torchRed light torches are one of the best you can have for stargazing as they help to maximise your night vision and don’t overly stimulate your eyes. It doesn’t have to cost the earth to stare at the skies, you can get a torch with a red light facility quite cheaply - have a shop around.
3) Know what you're looking atThere are some incredible apps available now to help you determine which constellation it is that you are looking at and to help you find your bearings amongst the stars - think about downloading now before you set off One of our very favourites is the Night Sky App, which beautifully illustrates the night sky, planets, constellations and satellites and uses an augmented reality map (it also has the most calming music playing in the background, which you are able to turn off if you would like the silence of the dark) Night Sky (iOS: Free)
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