Blair Atholl is a great place for stargazing, especially if you’re taking part in activities like overnight cycle bothy, where you’d spend time in the hills away from street lights. If it’s not too cloudy then why not find somewhere that you can get a good view of the stars, away from street lights, if possible and try a spot of amateur astronomy.
- A cloud forecast – try Clear Outside
- A map of the stars for your location– Printable ones can be created at In the sky or try an app Starwalk, Google Sky Map or Exoplanet.
- A torch with a red filter if possible – try making one from a transparent sweet wrapper.
- Binoculars if you want to see more detail
- Warm clothes if it’s cold where you are.
What to do
Make sure your printed map is for your correct location, date and time as the visible stars and planets change throughout the night and throughout the year. Orientate the map, noting that it is held above you so the easterly and westerly compass points are printed opposite from a standard map of the earth. Use your red light to look at the map. Avoid bright white light in your eyes which makes it more difficult to see the stars.
Above is the map of the skies above Scotland on 24th July – can you see any of the same stars?
Why not look for the International Space Station?
NASA has a website tracking the ISS. You can find out when the next sighting is in your area, where in the sky it will be and for how long. You can also watch it move around the world in real-time here. It’s travelling at over 17,000 mph.
If you do go out stargazing, take a picture and share it with us on social media using the hashtag #BlairEverywhere