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Scots See a Supermoon Rising

Press Release   •   Nov 08, 2016 10:38 GMT

The setting moon casts a warm light over Loch Trool in the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, bringing out Autumn colours in the ancient Oak woodland. Overhead, the Milky Way sets into the West. Image credit: Viridian Skies

It’s an astronomical sight that hasn’t been spotted in the night skies in 70 years and lucky stargazers in Scotland could be in with the best view, as the much-anticipated “supermoon” is set to light up on Monday, 14 November (just think of Elliott riding his bicycle across a full moon in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for an idea of the magnificence).

Scotland’s Dark Sky rangers are encouraging people to look out for the moon, which will be one-third brighter and 14 per cent bigger than a normal full moon. Scotland offers the ideal location to view such a special event. Light pollution free areas provide a natural view of the night sky, and this will allow the brilliant moon to shine over such areas such as Galloway’s Dark Sky Park.

Jesse Beaman, a Dark Sky Ranger as well as co-owner of Viridian Skies, which specialises in astrophotography and stargazing holidays in Dumfries and Galloway, said:

“The moon has an elliptical orbit, meaning that sometimes it is closer to Earth (perigee at its closest point) and sometimes it’s further away (apogee). When the full moon coincides roughly around the perigee, it appears larger and brighter in the sky. The ‘Supermoon’ next week is special because the moon becomes full at only two hours away from perigee; this means the moon will appear at its brightest and largest since 1948. It won’t happen again until 2034.

“Crossing a frosty landscape in Scotland by the light of the moon is one of the most magical experiences to be had… Scotland offers Dark Skies, lochs, mountains, woodland, rivers and beautiful shores to compliment the November ‘Supermoon’ and it’s an experience that should definitely not be missed”.

Viridian Skies is running a Supermoon Stargazing evening at Clatteringshaws Visitor Centre in the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park on Monday, 14 November. For more information go to www.viridianskies.com. For more information on stargazing in Dumfries and Galloway, go to www.visitscotland.com/dumfriesandgalloway.

Other top spots to enjoy the night sky in Scotland include:

Spey Valley, Cairngorms National Park

Home to very dark skies in autumn and winter, as well as many distilleries for a warming wee dram.

Loch Trool, Galloway Forest Park

Galloway Forest Park is a huge natural wonderland with 777 km² of forested glens, lochs and the highest hills in southern Scotland. Here, there are few buildings and even less light pollution. The International Dark Sky Association chose it to be the very first national park in the UK to be honoured with Dark Sky Park status. There are only two other such parks in the whole of Europe.

Moffat – a Dark Sky Town

Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway takes the title of Europe's first Dark Sky Town, having adopted special street lighting to keep light pollution to a minimum in order to preserve the wondrous starry, starry skies.

North West Sutherland, between Kylesku and Inchnadamph

Arguably the darkest sky location in the UK and possibly Europe, ideal for taking in the wonder of the dark skies above.

Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides

Nine locations on Skye have been officially named ‘Dark Discovery Sites’ after they were judged to be perfect spots for stargazing.

Notes to Editors

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ERDF.