Author Archives: Neill Sanders

The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks are holding a Virtual Dark Skies Week from 23rd October 2020 to 1st November 2020 as a taster for their main Dark Skies Festival scheduled for 12th February 2021 to 28th February 2021. Go Stargazing is very pleased to be supporting this event by hosting a range of online talks and presentations all of which are ideal for novices and perfect for anyone with an interest in the night sky.

All events are FREE OF CHARGE and will take the form of a Zoom webinar with pre-registered participants having opportunity to ask the presenters questions, a live video feed of each event will also be broadcast to the Go Stargazing Facebook page which can be accessed publicly (no Facebook account required).

For more details and to register your space in the Zoom presentation please see each event below.

A Place for Pluto - bedtime story

Pluto gets the shock of his life when he finds out he’s not a planet. He feels lost and confused and left out. He doesn’t fit in anywhere. But instead of giving up, Pluto takes off! Now he’s on a voyage to discover who he really is and to find...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 18:30pm to Sunday 1st November 2020 19:30pm

31/10/20
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The Search for Dark Energy

If you have heard of dark energy but are unsure what it is then there are few people better qualified to tell you all about it than Dr Luke Tyas, Lead Astronomer for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). Dr Luke works as an optical...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

A Beginner's Guide to the Night Sky

Join astronomer Neill Sanders for this introduction on how to find your way around the night-time skies. Neill will use the fantastic "Stellarium" planterium software to show you how to spot planets, identify some of the brighter stars and...

Saturday 24th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Latest Developments in Solar System Exploration

In this talk Dr Fred Stevenson looks at the most recent space missions exploring the solar system. As well as the major planets, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, there are exciting missions that hope to retrieve samples of 'soil' from two different...

Sunday 25th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

The Biological Universe - how abundant is life?

Join Professor Wallace Arthur, Emeritus Professor of Zoology from the National University of Ireland, who will present a fascinating exploration into life in the Universe. Author of numerous books including his most recent publication "The...

Monday 26th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Reverse through the Universe

Join Martin Whipp, Lead Astronomer from the Lime Tree Observatory, on an adventure through the Solar System! We will start off very small (inside the human eye) and pull back, giving a larger and larger view until we reach the outer limits of the...

Tuesday 27th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

All About the Aurora (live from the Arctic Circle!)

Join astronomer and aurora expert Matt Robinson who will be broadcasting from the Norwegian island of Senja! Matt will tell you all about the aurora, why they are also called the Northern Lights and how you might spot them from the UK -- it's...

Wednesday 28th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Real Astronomy - What can you see using a telescope?

In this presentation Richard Darn will give you the low down on what you can really expect from a stargazing experience and what things really look like through a telescope. It's all a long way from the glitzy images you see in magazines, but in...

Thursday 29th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Art and Astronomy Seminar with Lumen Studios

Lumen are a London-based art collective brought together by a shared interest in themes of astronomy and light. Launched in December 2014 by artists Louise Beer, Melanie King and Rebecca Huxley, they have curated or co-curated over 70 exhibitions...

Friday 30th October 2020 from 19:30pm to 21:30pm

The Story of Solarcan

Astronomer, artist and inventor Sam Cornwell will share his journey with you behind Solarcan -- a solargraphy camera that takes long exposures of the Sun -- and how it went from an idea into a fully fledged commercial astronomy product. This...

Tonight from 18:30

31/10/20
18:00
10°
34%

Black Holes and the Event Horizon Telescope

In this talk Dr Fred considers one of the strangest phenomena in the universe - that of the black-hole. As well as an introduction to black holes the talk will discuss the recent very first direct image of a black hole and how it was made. Finally...

Sunday 1st November 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

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The dark skies above the North York Moors offer a lot to celebrate and a variety of stargazing events taking place as part of this half-term festival offers lots of opportunities to experience this stunning part of Yorkshire, by day and of course by night! For more details on the range of events on offer, including night time nature walks to climbing rope bridges in darkness, see the official website.

Also look out for the North York Moors main dark skies festival which takes place each year during February.

Event map


Fox and Hounds Stargazing Break & Photography Competition

The Fox and Hounds invite Facebook and Instagram users to get out and photograph the night sky. The best capture voted by the team will win a 3-course meal for two at The Fox and Hounds. Make a holiday of it and stay in their Dark Skies Friendly...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 16:00pm to Sunday 25th October 2020 12:00pm

Stargazing Break to Carr House Farm B&B

Enjoy exclusivity for up to six people and spend time with loved ones during a three night stay at Carr House Farm B&B, a 16th century farmhouse set in an English country garden, with bluebell woods, fruit orchards and of course dark starry skies...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 16:00pm to Monday 26th October 2020 12:00pm

Deep Sky Exploring at Dalby

Enjoy a guided tour of the night sky in one of the darkest places in the National Park- Dalby Forest with the team from Hidden Horizons. We'll be focusing on objects in our solar system (the moon and other planets) as well as stars that reside far...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 18:00pm to Sunday 1st November 2020 21:00pm

31/10/20
03:00
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A Place for Pluto - bedtime story

Pluto gets the shock of his life when he finds out he’s not a planet. He feels lost and confused and left out. He doesn’t fit in anywhere. But instead of giving up, Pluto takes off! Now he’s on a voyage to discover who he really is and to find...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 18:30pm to Sunday 1st November 2020 19:30pm

31/10/20
03:00
14°
95%

The Search for Dark Energy

If you have heard of dark energy but are unsure what it is then there are few people better qualified to tell you all about it than Dr Luke Tyas, Lead Astronomer for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). Dr Luke works as an optical...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Mars Observation Evening at the Bruce Observatory

Mars reaches a very favourable opposition for UK observers this October. It presents a wonderful opportunity to see the Red Planet through the Cooke refractor at the Bruce Observatory with Whitby & District Astronomical Society. Group sizes are...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 20:00pm to 21:30pm

A Beginner's Guide to the Night Sky

Join astronomer Neill Sanders for this introduction on how to find your way around the night-time skies. Neill will use the fantastic "Stellarium" planterium software to show you how to spot planets, identify some of the brighter stars and...

Saturday 24th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Dark Skies walk at Sutton Bank

Home to ‘England’s Finest View’ from the scarp of Sutton Bank over the Vale of York, this walk takes us along the edge of the North York Moors, where woodland clings to the slopes. Experience with a friendly group and a leader who can take you...

Saturday 24th October 2020 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

Latest Developments in Solar System Exploration

In this talk Dr Fred Stevenson looks at the most recent space missions exploring the solar system. As well as the major planets, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, there are exciting missions that hope to retrieve samples of 'soil' from two different...

Sunday 25th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

The Biological Universe - how abundant is life?

Join Professor Wallace Arthur, Emeritus Professor of Zoology from the National University of Ireland, who will present a fascinating exploration into life in the Universe. Author of numerous books including his most recent publication "The...

Monday 26th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Astro-photography evening with Landscape Photographer Steve Bell

Learn everything there is to know during a bespoke evening with renowned astro-photographer Steve Bell. Under his guidance and expertise you'll be taught the techniques to produce spectacular images of the night sky. Steve Bell is a dark skies...

Monday 26th October 2020 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

Reverse through the Universe

Join Martin Whipp, Lead Astronomer from the Lime Tree Observatory, on an adventure through the Solar System! We will start off very small (inside the human eye) and pull back, giving a larger and larger view until we reach the outer limits of the...

Tuesday 27th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

All About the Aurora (live from the Arctic Circle!)

Join astronomer and aurora expert Matt Robinson who will be broadcasting from the Norwegian island of Senja! Matt will tell you all about the aurora, why they are also called the Northern Lights and how you might spot them from the UK -- it's...

Wednesday 28th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Real Astronomy - What can you see using a telescope?

In this presentation Richard Darn will give you the low down on what you can really expect from a stargazing experience and what things really look like through a telescope. It's all a long way from the glitzy images you see in magazines, but in...

Thursday 29th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

Art and Astronomy Seminar with Lumen Studios

Lumen are a London-based art collective brought together by a shared interest in themes of astronomy and light. Launched in December 2014 by artists Louise Beer, Melanie King and Rebecca Huxley, they have curated or co-curated over 70 exhibitions...

Friday 30th October 2020 from 19:30pm to 21:30pm

Mars Observation Evening at the Bruce Observatory

Mars reaches a very favourable opposition for UK observers this October. It presents a wonderful opportunity to see the Red Planet through the Cooke refractor at the Bruce Observatory with Whitby & District Astronomical Society. Group sizes are...

Friday 30th October 2020 from 20:00pm to 21:30pm

The Story of Solarcan

Astronomer, artist and inventor Sam Cornwell will share his journey with you behind Solarcan -- a solargraphy camera that takes long exposures of the Sun -- and how it went from an idea into a fully fledged commercial astronomy product. This...

Tonight from 18:30

31/10/20
18:00
10°
34%

Black Holes and the Event Horizon Telescope

In this talk Dr Fred considers one of the strangest phenomena in the universe - that of the black-hole. As well as an introduction to black holes the talk will discuss the recent very first direct image of a black hole and how it was made. Finally...

Sunday 1st November 2020 from 18:30pm to 19:30pm

01/11/20
18:00
16°
91%

Exmoor National Park Dark Skies Festival 2020

The annual Exmoor Dark Skies Festival takes place this year between 16th October to 31st October with a wide variety of events happening in and around Exmoor National Park. All events are run in conjunction with the current rules, regulations and safety requirements regarding coronavirus. The region was designated a Dark Sky Reserve in Autumn 2011 in recognition of the low levels of light pollution and the fantastic dark skies that can be enjoyed above.

Here we feature stargazing specific events taking place during the festival which include some element of practical astronomy. For a complete schedule of events and for more details see the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival 2020 official webpage. We wish everyone involved in running or participating in the festival good luck with the weather and clear skies!

Event map


Exmoor Character Cottages Stargazing Breaks

Stay in one of the lovely Exmoor Character Cottages who have some great accommodation breaks lined up in celebration of the Exmoor National Park Dark Skies Festival 2020 which include a night with astronomer Tim Wetherell from Exmoor Stargazers.

Friday 16th October 2020 from 16:00pm to Saturday 31st October 2020 12:00pm

31/10/20
03:00
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Heale under the Stars Retreat

Enjoy a weekend break at this fabulous stargazing location in Exmoor. With spectacular views of the sea and moors, Heale Farm is set in 23 acres of pasture, woodland and has grazing and access rights over a further 18 acres of rugged Exmoor land....

Friday 16th October 2020 from 16:00pm to Sunday 18th October 2020 12:00pm

Stargazing at Dunkery Beacon Country House Hotel

Book a stay in this boutique accommodation and the chef proprietor John Bradley who is a keen amateur astronomer will be delighted to asisst you with spotting constellations and planets with the naked eye or using his telescope. Special rates are on...

Friday 16th October 2020 from 16:00pm to Saturday 31st October 2020 12:00pm

31/10/20
03:00
14°
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Night Walk, Stargazing and (optional) Pub Supper

Meet your hosts for an informative evening of stargazing with knowledgeable astronomer Jennie Wild. Meet up in Exford village at 6.30pm for a night walk under the stars followed by guided stargazing using telescopes and binoculars. Lots of starry...

Friday 16th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 20:30pm

From Galaxies to Life - Presentation and Stargazing

Join the team from Horner Farm for an evening with Professor Roger Davies, an eminent astrophysicist and cosmologist from Oxford University. Welcomed with nibbles and enjoy a drink from the bar. Professor Davies will give us a 50 minutes talk on...

Friday 16th October 2020 from 18:45pm to 21:00pm

Bossington Beacon Ranger Guided Walk and Stargazing

Join a National Park Ranger on a guided walk to learn more about the area and the stars in this fantastic location on the north coast of Exmoor. Numbers will be limited to approx 25 so there's plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the walk...

Saturday 17th October 2020 from 17:30pm to 20:00pm

Night Walk, Stargazing and (optional) Pub Supper

Meet your hosts for an informative evening of stargazing with knowledgeable astronomer Jennie Wild. Meet up in Exford village at 6.30pm for a night walk under the stars followed by guided stargazing using telescopes and binoculars. Lots of starry...

Saturday 17th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 20:30pm

2 Night Stargazing Break in Exmoor

Enjoy a stargazing break to Exmoor and experience the fabulous dark skies with local astronomer Bob Mizon, coordinator of the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies, author, observer and Planetarium operator. Itinerary...

Sunday 18th October 2020 from 16:00pm to Wednesday 21st October 2020 12:00pm

3 Night Stargazing and Walking Break

Enjoy a stargazing break at the Simonsbath House Hotel who are offering a special deal in celebration of this year's Exmoor National Park Dark Skies Festival 2020.

Sunday 18th October 2020 from 16:00pm to Wednesday 21st October 2020 12:00pm

Solar System Talk and Stargazing (for adults)

Explore the relationship between galaxies and black holes with Professor Roger Davies, the President of the European Astronomical Society, who currently teaches at Oxford University. Professor Davies’ talk will be followed by a Q & A and then...

Sunday 18th October 2020 from 17:00pm to 18:00pm

Solar System Talk and Stargazing Family Event

Explore the Solar System and discover the many shapes of galaxies with Professor Roger Davies of Oxford University.A family friendly, interactive talk under cover followed by an opportunity to star-gaze in our beautiful orchard, weather...

Sunday 18th October 2020 from 17:00pm to 18:00pm

Night Walk, Stargazing and (optional) Pub Supper

Meet your hosts for an informative evening of stargazing with knowledgeable astronomer Jennie Wild. Meet up in Exford village at 6.30pm for a night walk under the stars followed by guided stargazing using telescopes and binoculars. Lots of starry...

Sunday 18th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 20:30pm

Stargazing, Supper and Talk with Local Astronomer Terry Evans

Join Terry Evans and your hosts for a relaxed evening with a presentation, supper and stargazing (weather permitting) in the heart of Exmoor Price £12 per person. A range of accommodation options is also available for those who want an overnight...

Monday 19th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 20:30pm

Night Walk, Stargazing and (optional) Pub Supper

Meet your hosts for an informative evening of stargazing with knowledgeable astronomer Jennie Wild. Meet up in Exford village at 6.30pm for a night walk under the stars followed by guided stargazing using telescopes and binoculars. Lots of starry...

Tuesday 20th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 20:30pm

Night Walk, Stargazing and (optional) Pub Supper

Meet your hosts for an informative evening of stargazing with knowledgeable astronomer Jennie Wild. Meet up in Exford village at 6.30pm for a night walk under the stars followed by guided stargazing using telescopes and binoculars. Lots of starry...

Wednesday 21st October 2020 from 18:30pm to 20:30pm

Night Walk, Stargazing and (optional) Pub Supper

Meet your hosts for an informative evening of stargazing with knowledgeable astronomer Jennie Wild. Meet up in Exford village at 6.30pm for a night walk under the stars followed by guided stargazing using telescopes and binoculars. Lots of starry...

Thursday 22nd October 2020 from 18:30pm to 20:30pm

Autumn Feast under the Stars at Horner Farm

Enjoy a safe socially-distanced supper in the beautiful surroundings of our working Exmoor farm. Focusing on seasonal produce by seeking out suppliers who share our goals of high quality produce, our feasts are not just about food, but also about...

Thursday 22nd October 2020 from 19:00pm to 21:00pm

Heale Stars & Nature Evening at Heale Farm

Walk, sit, gaze & graze! Arriving at 7pm we will walk through the moor to our field looking East across to the sea, we will walk, gaze, and wonder! Followed by sitting around the fire pit with a late graze box supper. Groups of up to 6 can stay over...

Thursday 22nd October 2020 from 19:00pm to Friday 23rd October 2020 12:00pm

Ranger Guided Stargazing Walk up Hollerday Hill

Meet your guides Ranger Dave Gurnett and local expert Tony Piper at Lynton Town Hal at 6pm before zig-zagging your way up through the trees and later views through this spectacular scenery. Whether it's clear or cloudy, the tranquil atmosphere of...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 18:00pm to 20:00pm

Stargazing at Torre Cider Farm

Camp out on our ridge, bring a blanket and telescope/binoculars or just use your eyes! We will have a chat about what we might be able to see then simply spend the evening laying on the ground looking up. Hot chocolate, drinks and cakes for...

Friday 23rd October 2020 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

Night Walk, Stargazing and (optional) Pub Supper

Meet your hosts for an informative evening of stargazing with knowledgeable astronomer Jennie Wild. Meet up in Exford village at 6.30pm for a night walk under the stars followed by guided stargazing using telescopes and binoculars. Lots of starry...

Saturday 24th October 2020 from 18:30pm to 20:30pm

In the Night Sky Family Presentation by Jo Richardson

Join astronomer Jo Richardson for an on-line family presentation on what can be seen in the night sky by astronomer Jo Richardson from Space Detectives. This is an event for Devon Dark Skies Week in collaboration with the Exmoor National Park Dark...

Monday 26th October 2020 from 11:00am to 12:00pm

Dark Skies Festival Stargazing Activities for Families

Join our experienced Rangers and staff for an outdoor adventure then return to base for a stargazing presentation 'In the Night Sky' and constellation activity with expert guide Jo Richardson. If weather is poor an indoor presentation will be...

Tuesday 27th October 2020 from 16:30pm to 18:30pm

Heale Stars & Nature Evening at Heale Farm

Walk, sit, gaze & graze! Arriving at 7pm we will walk through the moor to our field looking East across to the sea, we will walk, gaze, and wonder! Followed by sitting around the fire pit with a late graze box supper. Groups of up to 6 can stay over...

Tuesday 27th October 2020 from 19:00pm to 21:00pm

Dark Skies Festival Stargazing Activities for Adults

Designed for adults and older children, join our experienced Rangers and staff for an outdoor adventure then return to base for a stargazing presentation 'In the Night Sky' and activity session with expert guide Jo Richardson. If weather is poor an...

Tuesday 27th October 2020 from 19:30pm to 21:30pm

Exmoor By Bioluminescence Online Event

Join Exmoor National Park Ranger Patrick Watts-Mabbott and the Exmoor volunteers for a one-hour live virtual event on one of the wonders of nature. Learn about bioluminescent wildlife on Exmoor. Including insects, fungi and mosses. We’ll...

Thursday 29th October 2020 from 19:30pm to 21:30pm

Astro Adventure at Wimbleball Lake Activity Centre

Be part of a small group to enjoy a guided walk with a National Park Ranger as the sun goes down and the full moon rises. Hear from our Ranger Charlotte Wray about her love of moths and why they’re important to the environment. Learn how to set up...

Friday 30th October 2020 from 16:30pm to 18:30pm

Moonlit Adventure at Wimbleball Lake Activity Centre

Be part of a small group to enjoy a guided walk with a National Park Ranger under a moon-lit and starry sky. Hear from our Ranger Charlotte Wray about her love of moths and why they’re important to the environment. Learn how to set up your own...

Friday 30th October 2020 from 19:30pm to 21:30pm


As keen supporters of the astronomy community Go Stargazing is offering to list online events taking place in lieu of normal events due to the coronavirus pandemic and promote them to our website visitors and social media followers.

If you or your organisation is planning an online event such as a webinar, Zoom presentation, YouTube or Facebook Live please complete the below form and we will happily add your event to our online astronomy events calendar.

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Go Stargazing is pleased to recommend the fabulous Space Detectives and their forthcoming online workshops “Space Club Live”. Aimed at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children (ages 5 through to 11) the workshops cover various astronomy topics including planets, the Moon and even galaxies! Each session includes a live experiment and space related arts and craft designed to enthuse, inspire and inform each participating child.

Sessions run for 6 weeks on Tuesday evenings from 5pm to 6pm commencing 15th September 2020 and cost just £60 per family for all 6 sessions. We think it’s an awesome way to encourage children’s interest in space and astronomy and Space Detectives are a fabulous organisation that we would like to support! Go Stargazing receives no commission for this recommendation.

To indicate your interest in these workshops please complete the following form the details of which will be sent directly to Jo at Space Detectives.

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Where and when to see the Perseids meteor shower

The annual Perseids meteor shower is possibly the most eagerly anticipated by astronomers. For several years they have resulted in a great show with dozens of bright meteors being spotted every hour around the peak of their activity.

Each year as the Earth travels on its orbit around the Sun it encounters a vast swathe of cosmic dust left over by the comet Swift-Tuttle. As these tiny dust particles enter Earth’s atmosphere at great speed they burn up leaving a brief but bright trail — a shooting star!

Perseids meteors appear to radiate from the constellation of Perseus, hence their name. The shower takes place each year from July 14th through to August 24th however they reach their peak on the evening of August 12th / morning of August 13th, this when Earth passes through the densest part of leftover dust. The very best time to see them (if you can stay up late!) is in the early hours of August 13th when up to 80 meteors per hour may be seen from a dark sky location.

perseid-meteor-shower-2017

In 2020 the peak of the shower takes place during new Moon, which is great! No bright Moon means more of the fainter shooting stars can be seen. It should be an amazing spectacle especially if you are able to escape the worst effects of light pollution.

For the best place to see the Perseids meteor shower the most important requirement is a wide open space where you can see as much of the sky as possible. Scan the skies using your peripheral vision (rather than staring towards any particular spot) and you should catch them out of the “corner of your eye”. This in turn will draw your sight towards them. You do not need any visual aid such as binoculars or a telescope, just your eyes and a bit of patience!

Suggested places to see the Perseids meteor shower

Our map includes recognised dark sky discovery sites, recommended locations from organisations such as national parks and AONB’s and a few of our own favourite places for good measure!


Stay and gaze

Why not enjoy a short stargazing break to escape the bright lights of our towns and cities and see the Perseids from a dark location!? We are constantly adding to our map of venues and accommodation providers who cater for stargazers! Hope this gives you some ideas! Clear skies!



Image used with kind permission from Darren Musgrove

When is the best time to see comet NEOWISE?

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, to give its full designation, will be visible in the evening skies by observers in the Northern hemisphere throughout July 2020. The comet’s closest approach to Earth is on 24th July when it will be 103.7 million kilometres distant and is likely to be the very best time to see it.

Image courtesy of Sky and Telescope

The chart shows the position of the comet in the sky between the 14th to the 23rd July at 23:00 in the evening, this the time when the comet should just about be visible to the naked eye towards the North West. You may need to wait another half an hour, perhaps even until midnight, before seeing it more clearly once the skies have darkened. During the course of the night will appear to move (due to Earth’s rotation) towards the North and by dawn will appear towards the North East. When it is due North it will be at its lowest point in the sky however will remain visible above the Northern horizon all night.

Where is the best place to see comet NEOWISE?

The comet is easily visible to the naked eye from a reasonably dark sky location that is free from the worst light pollution. If you cannot escape bright lights or are unable travel to a dark sky site don’t worry as the comet can still be seen however will likely require visual aid such as a pair of binoculars. As the comet appears fairly low in the sky you will need an unobstructed view towards the Northern horizon to see it. See our map of stargazing locations for places near you.

What is the best way to observe comet NEOWISE?

The best way to observe the comet is by using a pair of binoculars. You should be able to see the bright core of the comet and far more of its tail than you can see just with your naked eye.

Whilst any pair of binoculars will improve your view we highly recommend those which are 10×50 in size as these are great for not only observing the comet but for general astronomy use too. If you are looking to purchase some we always advise buying from an independent astronomy equipment retailer and recommend First Light Optics who sell a range of suitable binoculars and offer fantastic customer service.

Helios Fieldmaster comet spotting binoculars
Helios Fieldmaster 50mm Binoculars
£49.00. Perfect for beginners these prism based binoculars offer excellent optics for the price.

Opticron Adventurer comet spotting binoculars
Opticron Adventurer 10×50 T WP Binoculars
£79.00 recommended as the best binoculars for stargazing under £100.00

We hope you get to see the comet!

For up to date information see our Facebook page. Clear skies!


About Scopes4SEN

Scopes4SEN donates telescopes to organisations and families that support children with special educational needs and / or vulnerable persons. The charity is run by Joanne and Patrick Poitevin who are two of the most lovely, kind and generous people you might ever be fortunate to meet.

Since the charity started in November 2015 they have donated over 900 telescopes to schools, hospitals, retreat centres, trusts, community groups and private homes and are always open to recommendations and suggestions as to who might benefit from receiving one of their telescopes.

For more information please see their official website which features an ever growing list of telescope recipients. If you would like to support them by making a donation you can do so via PayPal with monies received helping to cover the costs of sending telescopes on to their new homes.

Nominating an organisation

Updated 16/07/20 Scopes4SEN have received a large number of nominations and have asked Go Stargazing to suspend new requests. If you have already submitted a request Scopes4SEN will be in touch with you soon. Unfortunately it is not possible for them to commit to a specific date as to when your telescope may be delivered, however if your application is successful you will be given two days notice and a UPS tracking number to make necessary arrangements for delivery or give directions where to leave the parcel.

If you have not yet nominated an organisation to receive a telescope and would like to do so we kindly ask that you back here in early September. Thank you!

Go Stargazing is very pleased to be of help to Scopes4SEN and their charitable endeavours by hosting the below telescope request form making it easy for you to nominate an organisation to receive a telescope. Details entered in the form will be forwarded to Scopes4SEN and stored in the Go Stargazing database solely for the purpose of effecting your request. Your data will be kept secure and will never be shared with any other third parties. Please be aware that telescopes can only be delivered to destinations in the United Kingdom. If you are nominating a school and are not a teacher or employee of that school please can you check with them first to ensure they would be happy to take delivery of a telescope? Thank you!


It’s the beginning of June 2020 and the noctilucent cloud season has started!

If you were asked in a family Zoom pub quiz to think of some famous arch-enemies who would spring to mind? Probably Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty? How about Harry Potter and Voldemort? Definitely Tom and Jerry, right?

If astronomers have an arch enemy it is clouds. Time and time again they ruin our views of rare astronomical events such as the northern lights, meteor showers and eclipses. But you might be surprised to learn that there’s one type of cloud star-gazers actually look forward to seeing, and the good news is that now is the best – in fact the only – time to see them. They are called Noctilucent Clouds, or NLC for short.

We can only see NLC in the northern hemisphere’s night sky in summer, between the end of May and the end of July (a period we call the NLC Season) because that’s the only time they can form. NLC are icy clouds that form way, way up in the atmosphere, at a height of 80km or so which puts them on the edge of space. The meteorological conditions that lead to their formation up there only come together in the summer, and even then not every night, so they are a celestial treat we hope to see but can’t be sure of seeing. Dedicated NLC-watchers monitor various websites to get some advance warning that a display might occur, and they use social media to let each other know when a display is in progress, but it often just comes down to going out on a clear summer’s night and seeing if anything is going on.

So what do NLC look like?

The clue is in the name! “Nocti” means night, and “lucent” means shining, so NLC are night shining clouds. They look like streamers, streaks, billows and wisps of blue-white cloud, clearly visible to the naked eye, hanging above the northern horizon after midnight on summer nights. They move, but unlike the northern lights which sway and jiggle about quite quickly, NLC move so slowly you can only detect their movement over a matter of minutes. Most displays are quite modest, but occasionally a display really brews up into something very special, with NLC painted across the sky from the north-west to the north-east. A really good display can last for hours, and still be shining high in the east as the sky begins to brighten with the approach of dawn. Some displays are little more than a few teased-out streamers and tendrils of light cloud, others develop very complicated structures and shapes, almost looking like a force field or wormhole special effect from a science fiction film.

When should you look for them?

The best time to see them is from around one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise, so around 11:30pm to 2:30am. At the time of the Summer Solstice (the longest day 20th June) NLC’s may not appear until after midnight, however occasionally a particularly good display can begin to show itself as soon as the sky begins to darken.

Some astronomers don’t think NLC are an astronomical phenomena – they say they are just clouds! But many stargazers and skywatchers absolutely love observing NLC, because, after all, the nights of summer are so bright that we can’t see the faint galaxies, star clusters and nebulae we drool over at other times of the year, so it’s good to have something interesting to look at. And they are genuinely beautiful to look at, too. A telescope will be no use for observing them with, they are just too big, but a pair of binoculars will help you appreciate the subtle structures and colours of an NLC display.

I’ve been observing NLC for around 40 years now, and they are one of my favourite things to look at in the sky. They can be very frustrating – just because the sky is clear it doesn’t mean you’ll see them, and it’s infuriating to be stood under a fantastically-clear and still night sky without any trace of NLC – but a big display is an unforgettable sight, and there genuinely is nothing else like it in astronomy. Over the years I’ve watched NLC from many different places, from lonely lay-bys out in the countryside, from quiet campsites in the Scottish Highlands, even from beaches on the east coast! Now I live in Kendal, in the beautiful Lake District, I observe them from the ruins of the 800 year old castle that overlooks the town, and love photographing them from up there, shining above the distant Cumbrian fells and casting a pale blue light on the castle’s crumbling walls and towers. I can be up there until four in the morning sometimes – which is always fun when my shift at work begins at seven… It’s worth losing sleep tho, because a big display of NLC is a truly unforgettable sight.

The good news is that there have already been some displays of NLC, so that might…might…be a good omen for a busy and beautiful NLC season ahead.

Follow Go Stargazing on Facebook and Twitter for reports on NLC activity — we’ll try our best to put out “get out and look North now!” alerts if a display kicks off. You could also follow these social media accounts:

Noctilucent Cloud Alerts (Twitter)

Liebniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics (Live webcams)

Noctilucent clouds around the World (Facebook group)

Aurora UK group (Facebook group)

Good luck!

Stuart Atkinson for Go Stargazing


Go Stargazing is keen to support and encourage astro-tourism. If you have a place where people can stay over in or near a dark sky area we would love to feature your business on the Stay and Gaze section of our website and promote it as a stargazing destination!

Last Winter (2019/2020) our website was receiving ~40,000 interested stargazers per month with many wanting to escape the bright lights and experience dark skies away from towns and cities. It’s a great target market and one that has been proven to increase occupancy during the shoulder and winter seasons!

To add your business as a stay and gaze stargazing destination please send us an email letting us know the name of your venue and a link to your website where we can find out all of the details.

View properties that have already been added to our location map.


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