For years people have looked up at the stars and pondered the wonders of the universe. Today, taking time to gaze at the stars helps slow you down from the hustle and bustle of life and experience the awe of the universe. In fact research from the University of California Irvine has found that the sense of awe makes people more altruistic. It can be hard to find a place to stargaze due to light pollution, however Yorkshire is home to a number of dark sky discovery sites. These are places where you can get away from light pollution and really see the night sky. Remember to wrap up warm (even on a warm day it can get cold at night) bring a blanket or beach towel to lie on and plenty of food. Other useful bits and bobs include a red torch so your eyes can stay adjusted to the dark (a red sweet wrapper can be used to cover a normal torch if you don't have one), a compass to help you find certain constellations, binoculars, star gazing app and guide (such as this one) and a camera. Other than that get ready to find your inner peace and let your imagination do the rest!
Since 1997 the Whitby and District Astronomical Society have hosted Star Parties, in summer at Whitby's West Cliff and in winter at the Bruce Observatory. Check out the Events page on their website for details of these.
Whitby Astronomical Society
Whitby (Section C/D)
This dark sky site has also been identified as a good location to spot the Aurora as the horizons looking north are clear. It also has a pub - The Feverhsam Arms just a mile along the road, just perfect for warming up in when the night is cold!
Blakey Ridge Car Park
Church Houses (Section D)
There are various Dark Sky Discovery Sites across the North York Moors, inlcuding at the Sutton Bank Centre and National Trust's Rievaulx Terrace. The North York Moors National Park website has loads of useful information on where to go, what you can see and upcoming events.
North York Moors
Various Locations (Sections D-F)
Go Stargazing have highlighted the carpark at Cod Beck Reservoir as a great spot to star gaze! It is in a small valley surrounded by hills which blocks out much of the surrounding light pollution. The reservoir itself is surrounded by moors, farmland and a conifer forest perfect for walking in.
Cod Beck Reservoir Carpark
Osmotherly (Section G)
A friendly group who hold meetings every second Monday of the month at the Dales Centre in Reeth. They welcome anyone no matter what experience or equipment you have but do ask that people ring or email in advance if they wish to come to a meeting.
Reeth Informal Astronomy Group
Reeth (Section H/I)
The Yorkshire Dales National Park is home to several Dark Sky Discovery Sites, including at the Malham National Park Centre and at Buckden National Park Carpark. The National Park also hosts a Dark Skies Festival in February and has a stargazing leaflet full of top tips!