The skies at Woodlands View are wide and reasonably dark meaning that we get good views of the brighter constellations and the planets. The surrounding hills, although not providing us with the most distant horizons, help reduce the effects of light pollution from the local towns and more distant metropolitan areas. 

We have 5 observing pads, three looking south, and two looking west. All pads have a low voltage power supply and data cabling. There is also plenty of space for observing on the grassy plateau surrounding the pads.

With most of the Northern sky available to us, there is plenty to observe throughout the year.

For a free monthly sky map visit

http://planeteartheducation.co.uk/sky-map.html

Observational astronomy is not just limited to the night sky.  It is also possible to safely observe the Sun and the Moon during the daytime. Please observe the following rule…

 

NEVER LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN WITH THE NAKED EYE OR ANY OPTICAL DEVICE THAT IS NOT FOR DEDICATED SOLAR OBSERVING

 

Unless you are using equipment designed specifically for solar observing you are almost certain to experience permanent eye damage, if not blindness. This is true even if not looking through a telescope or binoculars, although the damage may not be immediately apparent.

 

Advice for beginners 

People getting started in Astronomy often want to rush out and buy a telescope. While we don’t wish to tell people what to do with their money, please don’t spend anything until you have done some research. We always advise starting out by finding your way around the sky using just your eyes and a sky map. You may even want to invest in some warm clothing as better observing is usually to be had during the colder months of the year.

Once you have begun to learn your way around the sky, a good pair of binoculars may be a wise investment. At least if you don’t continue with astronomy, they could still be used for observing the natural landscape, bird watching or even plane spotting.

The images that are seen on television and in magazines, such as those from the Hubble Telescope, often give people an unrealistic expectation of what they will be able to see. Even images in magazines such as Sky at Night, that are submitted by ‘amateurs’, are sometimes a result of many thousands of pounds of equipment and many hours spent processing files on a computer. We don’t want to put people off, but if you are realistic and patient, then you will get much more enjoyment and reward out of astronomy.