Scotland’s Dark Skies
- Galloway Forest Park Observatory
- Isle of Coll
- Northern Lights
- Apps for Star Gazers
The Observatory is located in the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park and open to the public, but visitor numbers are limited, so book your ticket before you go.
The SDSO (Scottish Dark Sky Observatory), is located on a hilltop site in Galloway Forest Park - and you’ll enjoy quite an adventurous drive through the forest to reach it.
When you get there you will enjoy an amazingly dark night sky, and the opportunity to look through two large telescopes, including a 20” Planewave CDK telescope in a 5-metre dome.
It’s a great place for people of all ages to learn more about astronomy and the night sky. There are stargazing evenings, and special events involving guest speakers or based around particular dates in the astronomical calendar.
Coll & The Cosmos
The Island of Coll, in the Inner Hebrides, guarantees clear vistas of the night sky unspoilt by light pollution - weather permitting! It has no high mountains to attract cloud build-up, allowing open views to the north and west over Rum, Mull and the mainland.
Night sky watching in mid-summer is not at the peak on Coll, as the island is just too far north to have any real darkness through May, June and July. But, the mid-night glows are well worth it and you just might experience the rare event of Noctilucent Clouds, clouds of ice crystals that shine some 80km above the island.
Among the most notable viewing events are the Aurora and the Milky Way which can be seen as early as mid-August. Coll is so free of light pollution you can enjoy the night skies almost anywhere. Coll Community Centre and the Coll Bunkhouse run Dark-sky weekend events (known as Coll and the Cosmos) through the winter. The Cosmos Planetarium offers many things to do should it be cloudy.