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Go Stargazing

We talked to Neill from Go Stargazing about the importance of Dark Skies.

Why do dark skies matter?

Seeing the band of light we call the Milky Way stretching across a sky full of stars is one of the most incredible natural sights to behold.

However, light pollution, the fastest growing form of pollution on our planet, obscures that view meaning fewer people are getting to experience it.

Dark skies enable us to see the skies as they should be seen. In addition, reducing light pollution is proven to help our wellbeing, wildlife, and natural environment.


How can people find out more about the night sky and dark skies?

The best way to find out about dark skies is to get out there and experience them! Just getting a few miles out of the town or city you live in makes a massive difference to what you can see in the sky. So, I recommend installing an astronomy app on your phone and heading out, taking a flask of hot chocolate with you.

As for where you can go, the UK has several Dark Sky Parks and Reserves, protected regions accredited by the International Dark Skies Association. In addition, there is an extensive network of Dark Sky Discovery Sites which are specific locations where you can stargaze.

Note that dark sky locations are only dark when there is no bright Moon at night; if you are planning a stargazing trip, check the lunar phase first.

The UK is home to over 100 public observatories and over 200 astronomical societies; looking up your local astronomy club is an excellent way for beginners to get involved.

Visit the Go Stargazing website for advice on where and when to stargaze. The website also features dark sky regions, stargazing sites, observatories, astronomy clubs and a lunar calendar which explains precisely when the skies will be at their darkest.

A full blood moon against a dark sky

How did you get started as Go Stargazing?

Go Stargazing is an extension of my astronomy hobby. I love showing people cool things through telescopes and organising outreach events where people can explore the night skies.

There are many others like me. I started Go Stargazing to support grassroots astronomy organisations across the UK, using the website and social media to promote stargazing events and encourage people to get involved.


Why did the Green Space Dark Skies project interest you?

The Green Space Dark Skies project enables people to escape our light-polluted towns and cities and explore rural areas’ incredible nighttime environment. I’m pleased to support such a project.

A silhouetted figure against a night sky
A group of stargazers watching the night sky

What would you like to see changed in our countryside?

I would like to see increased use of environmentally friendly lighting in our countryside. All too often, we see bright white LED floodlights installed incorrectly, creating domes of light illuminating the sky that are visible for miles around.

Following simple rules, pointing lights downwards and using lighting only where and when needed, light pollution and its adverse impact on the environment can be reduced significantly.

I hope that change can be brought about by increased awareness of the problem and the readily available cost-effective solutions. However, I suspect changes to planning rules and new laws will be needed to make much-needed progress.


Any other final thoughts?

I congratulate the Green Space Dark Skies project team for making our nighttime environment accessible to the public. I hope everyone taking part experiences awesome star-filled skies.

Clear skies!


For more information about Go Stargazing have a look at the website:


And you can follow Go Stargazing on social media too: