West Dorset Leisure Holidays

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Stargazing in Dorset

Did you know, the county of Dorset has no cities and no motorways? Because of this, Dorset is one of the best areas in the UK for stargazing, with clear night skies and very little light pollution. A lot of the guests we welcome tell us they love these fantastic locations for stargazing and viewing the clear night skies on the Dorset coast. With the milkyway visible on clear nights from March to October, what could be more perfect than sitting outside your accommodation viewing the amazing night sky?

Here is a little guide for visitors to our Dorset holiday parks to make the most of these beautiful starry skies. The images below were taken in the local area on the Dorset coast by James Loveridge Photography.

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Pick a good viewing spot

It is important to pick the right place to view the stars from, away from light sources and obstacles.

Try the decking or area outside your accommodation, the fields surrounding the parks or venture to the beaches and clifftops. Seatown Beach, Eype Beach and Hive Beach, close to our holiday parks are all great locations and some of our favourites, alongside Durdle Door and St Catherine’s Chapel in Abbotsbury.

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Take the right equipment

The only equipment you need as beginners is your eyes. For more advanced stargazing try binoculars or a telescope. There are a variety of phone and tablet applications that give you a map of the sky and tell you where to look and what to look for. Try to go out in pairs with torches or let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

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Let your eyes adjust

Our eyes are used to looking at computer screens and bright lights. Once you have picked your spot, allow your eyes 20 minutes or so to adjust to the darkness.

The number of stars you will be able to pick out will increase dramatically. Avoid using your phone or tablet, and if you do check it, turn the screen brightness down as low as it will go.

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Sit comfortably

Remember to take a blanket with you and warm clothing. Position your body so that you can view the sky at ease, either with a camping chair or by lying on your blanket on the ground. Be patient – good things take time!

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Look for patterns

Start by learning one of the constellations and the pattern it makes. Then build outwards, noticing and learning new shapes and new stars.

There’s nothing like sharing an interest with others and stargazing is a great hobby to enjoy with friends and family and an exciting activity for children!

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Choose the right day

It might be obvious that you won’t see many stars on a cloudy night, but did you know that the phases of the moon also impact how many stars you can see. When the moon is full or close to full, it is reflecting a lot of light, and can stop you seeing as many stars.

The dates of meteor showers are fairly predictable each year, so try looking up the dates in advance and planning a stargazing trip to watch shooting stars!