Dark skies in the North York Moors make it a great choice for stargazing!
The lack of light pollution means the night skies are lit up by beautiful stars and you can see up to 10 times as many as you would in the city (up to 20,000 on a clear night).
Now that the nights are starting to get darker, it’s the perfect time of year to get your binoculars out, look up to the sky and be mesmerised by its spectacular beauty.
Dark Sky Discovery Sites
There are two National Park Centres in the North York Moors – you’ll find one at Sutton Bank and one at Danby and both have been named as Dark Skies Discovery Sites.
The third official Discovery Site is at the Dalby Forest observatories (it was made official during BBC2’s Stargazing Live in January 2013) and all three of these sites have Milky Way status.
Other locations to try
You can spot stars throughout the North York Moors – remember the key to great stargazing is really dark skies so places with little to no light pollution are best.
Recognised places to try include Rievaulx Terrace near Helmsley plus Boggle Hole and Ravenscar on the coastline.
What to look out for:
The Milky Way
Look directly upwards to see the shimmering lights of the Milky Way during Autumn and Winter evenings.
The Northern Lights
You have more chance of seeing the magical Northern Lights when the nights are really dark. Their appearance can be unpredictable but they been recently seen from the coast.
There are a variety of meteor showers that take place at different points in the year including the Leonids in November, the Geminids and Ursinids in December and the Quantrantids in January.
The Plough is probably the easiest star formation to spot – I think it looks like a question mark and it’s in the Northern Sky all year round. You’ll see Polaris (the North Star) by the top curve of the Plough and at the other side of Polaris is the cluster of stars called Cassiopeia.
Hidden Horizons hold a range of Stargazing events at Dalby Forest between September and March – check their website for the latest dates and availability. The Dark Skies Festival takes place from the 9th – 25th February with a variety of activities throughout the North York Moors.
Where to stay
Gorgeous Cottages have lots of cottages throughout the North York Moors including:
The Potting Shed
You can enjoy a special stargazing package with an expert astronomer at The Potting Shed. The evening includes a warming meal (served al fresco) with fire pits, sheepskins and blankets to keep you toasty as you gaze into the night skies. Find out more.
This gorgeous 3-bedroom property is close to Dalby Forest so perfectly placed for a spot of stargazing. Find out more.
With unspoilt views across the Esk Valley you can look out for the Milky Way from this enclosed garden. Find out more.
This lovely property is close to the coast (great for trying to spot the Northern Lights) and the National Park Centre at Danby. Find out more
For more information on any of our luxury North York Moors Holiday Cottages, please give the team a call on 01642 263 249.