The Dark Skies of Britain & Ireland
A Stargazer's Guideby Tiffany Francis-Baker
Dark Skies: Britain and Ireland guide – a practical guide to star-gazing, including history, myth and legend, Certified and Discovery sites, recommended equipment, Dark Sky festivals and nocturnal wildlife. Covers from the West Country and South Downs of England to the Scottish Highlands and Ireland, plus what to look for in the night sky.
About this book
Join expert author Tiffany Francis-Baker on a night-time journey around Britain and Ireland as she reveals the best places for star-gazing. She covers all of the International Dark-Sky Association’s Certified Sites (the spots with the darkest skies), as well as the many Discovery Sites (areas where the skies are lighter but are still good for viewing).
The first part of the guide introduces the idea of astronomy and why it is such an enticing hobby. It then explores the history behind astronomy, the myths and folklore we associate with the stars, the science behind our horoscopes and star signs, a guide to nocturnal wildlife, information on the issues surrounding light pollution, and practical information on how to stargaze safely and enjoyably. There’s also a ‘What to Spot’ guide to the night sky – an illustrated list of objects visible from the earth’s surface and where to find them: constellations, satellites, meteor showers… the Northern Lights. Packed with useful information, it covers everything from easy ways to reduce your light pollution levels to how to identify owls by their calls.
The dedicated section of the book lists the best places to visit to observe the night sky clearly, with useful information for visitors included to help you get the most out of your night-sky experience. Geographical coverage ranges from the West Country and South Downs of England to the Scottish Highlands and Ireland. No matter where you are in the country you’re never likely to be far from a good place for looking up and gazing at the stars.
About the Author
Tiffany Francis-Baker is a nature writer and illustrator from the South Downs in Hampshire, with several books to her name. In the course of her work she has watched wild beavers in Devon, hiked through a haunted yew forest in Sussex, listened to migratory birds on an autumn night, stood beneath the Northern Lights in Norway and swam wild under the midnight sun in Finland. For this new Bradt guide she travelled to various Dark Sky sites around the UK and Europe, inspiring her to then seek out the best places in Britain and Ireland to see the night sky. In 2019, she was a writer-in-residence for Forestry England’s centenary project, where she wrote and illustrated a poem about the human connection with forests. She has written for a number of national publications, appeared on BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4, and runs a small online business creating illustrated gifts and stationery. Her third book, Dark Skies (Bloomsbury, 2019) was a nature memoir exploring our relationship with the landscape at night.
Additional InformationTable of Contents
PART 1 GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
A history of stargazing, Understanding our skies
Chapter 2 Practical Information
Where to go stargazing, Getting started, Astrophotography, Light pollution, Wildlife at night
PART 2 DARK SKY PLACES
Chapter 3 Certified Sites
Moore’s Reserve (International Dark Sky Reserve), Bodmin Moor (International Dark Sky Park), Cranborne Chase (International Dark Sky Reserve), Exmoor National Park (International Dark Sky Reserve), Brecon Beacons National Park (International Dark Sky Reserve), Elan Valley Estate (International Dark Sky Park), Snowdonia National Park (International Dark Sky Reserve), Yorkshire Dales National Park (International Dark Sky Reserve), North York Moors National Park (International Dark Sky Reserve), Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park (International Dark Sky Park), Galloway Forest Park (International Dark Sky Park), Moffat (International Dark Sky Community), Tomintoul and Glenlivet – Cairngorms (International Dark Sky Park), Coll (International Dark Sky Community), Davagh Forest Park and Beaghmore Stone Circles (International Dark Sky Park), Mayo Dark Sky Park, Kerry (International Dark Sky Reserve)
Chapter 4 Discovery Sites
England, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland
Appendix 1 What to Spot in the Night Sky
Appendix 2 Further Information