Our dark sky calendar helps you identify the best nights to go stargazing, this when there is no bright Moon at night and when the Sun has set enough so that twilight does not affect observations. Locations identified as being “dark sky sites” (one with minimal light pollution) will only be dark during these times. This equates to about two weeks every lunar month and no location has dark skies when there is a bright Moon in the sky, no matter how free it is from man-made light pollution!
Our dark sky calendar below helps you identify which nights are going to be dark so that you can plan your stargazing adventure to a dark sky site. Where you see stars on a black background indicates that the skies will be “astronomically” dark, this meaning that you will be able to see the most stars and quite likely the Milky Way arching across the sky depending on the time of year.
The yellow sections on the calendar show when the skies are not dark due to sunlight (bold yellow) and moonlight (faded yellow). These are the worst nights to stargaze as you will see less stars in the sky and objects observed through a telescope appear more washed out. Hover over the calendar (mobile users will need to tap) to check at what time darkness falls each evening and click the calendar date for more details.
Although it doesn’t affect times significantly your location in the UK determines exactly when the Sun and Moon will rise and set. By default this calendar is based on you being in London. All of the dark sky locations we feature on our website have their own dark sky calendar so you can check to make sure when the skies will be at their very best for stargazing!
For even more advice see our dedicated “when to go stargazing” page. Clear skies!