Islay is a fantastic place for stargazing in Scotland! Our island produces only a very small amount of light pollution, meaning that you can see thousands of stars from here on a clear night. This is a truly magical way to spend an evening. So if you’re coming to visit us on Islay, particularly over the darker winter months, here are a few stargazing tips to get you started.
When to go stargazing
The best time of year to go stargazing is when the sun sets earlier in the evening, which is from October to March in the UK. Wait until the sun has set completely and avoid evenings when there is a bright full moon. The darker the sky the more you will see! This dark sky calendar is useful to find the dates and times when the sky will be dark enough for stargazing.
What you will need
You don’t need any specialist equipment to go stargazing in Scotland. When the sky is dark and clear, stars are visible to the naked eye. However, you may wish to use binoculars or a telescope to see more closely. You might also wish to take a red light torch with you, which will help you find your way around, without interfering with your dark-adapted vision. Remember to wrap up warm!
If you’re a beginner, we recommend purchasing a stargazing guidebook, which contains star charts and will help you through the basics. You can also download these stargazing phone apps, which use your GPS location to tell you which constellations and planets you can see. If you have an iPhone, you can turn your screen red to avoid affecting your dark-adapted vision.
What you could see
Looking up at the night sky in Scotland on a clear night, you could see stars and constellations, shooting stars, nebulae, planets and galaxies. You might even see nature’s spectacular light show, known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.
Why not call into Peatzeria Restaurant for some delicious pizza to keep you well-fed before you begin your stargazing activities on Islay? We’d love to see your stargazing pictures! Please share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.