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Scots will see the best ‘supermoon’

Written by Fiona

November 08 2016

It’s an astronomical sight that hasn’t been spotted in the night skies for 70 years – and Scotland will have the best view. The “supermoon” will arrive on Monday (November 14), offering a moon that will be one-third brighter and 14 per cent bigger than a normal full moon.

Scotland is apparently the ideal location to view the special event, especially locations where light pollution is at a minimum, such as Galloway’s Dark Sky Park.

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

Jesse reckons we should all be outdoors admiring the moon on Monday. Jesse says: “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. For more information go to www.viridianskies.com.

For more information on stargazing in Dumfries and Galloway, go to www.visitscotland.com/dumfriesandgalloway.

More top spots to enjoy the night sky

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 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.

Between Kylesku and Inchnadamph, North West Sutherland

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.

Where will you be taking in the “supermoon”?

 

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