Forest Holidays

2019 stargazing calandar

Plan your break around the stars

Forest Holidays

Team Forestipedia | Sharing all the best tips and secrets of the forest

Stargazing is something for the bucket list and, if you have never done it before, you will be amazed by the sheer beauty of the night sky. Here is our guide to the celestial highlights of the year, so that you can plan your stargazing to coincide with the most exciting events.

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Book a cabin at Forest of Dean, Thorpe Forest, Keldy, or Cropton, which all have cabins in less wooded areas. Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre too, offer open views across the lochs. All our locations have a night-time darkness you will never experience in a city or town.

Did you know?

  • Every full moon has a name, relating to the farming year. We have given you the British names here but sometimes you may hear the American names.
  • A new moon (when all you can see is a crescent) is best for stargazing because it gives out less light and makes it easier to see everything else.
  • There are three supermoons in 2021 - when the full moon appears larger than usual because it is closer to earth.

Of course, there’s one factor that has a large bearing on what you can see – the weather. Specifically, clouds. Plan your stargazing around a Forest Holidays break and, if it’s cloudy, rather than standing in the cold, you will be able to simply relax in your hot tub and hope for a break in the clouds.

northern lights

Northern Lights

January stargazing highlights

  • 2/3 January: Quadrantids meteor shower – up to 40 shooting stars per hour, with a crescent moon making them more visible.
  • 13 January: New moon. This is also the best time this year to see observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • 24 January: This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
  • 28 January: Full moon, called the Wolf Moon.

February stargazing highlights

  • 11 February: New moon - the best time for stargazing.
  • 27 February: Full moon, called the Snow Moon.

March stargazing highlights

  • 13 March: New moon – the best time for stargazing
  • 20 March: March Equinox. The March equinox occurs at 09:27 UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world.
  • 28 March: Full moon, called the Lenton Moon
Supermoon

Supermoon

April stargazing highlights

  • 12 April: New moon - the best time for stargazing.
  • 22/23 April: Lyrids Meteor Shower. The Lyrids is an average shower, usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Lyra, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • 27 April: Full moon. Super moon. The Moon will be near its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.

May stargazing highlights

  • 6/7 May: Eta Aquariids meteor shower. Up to 30 shooting stars per hour, with a crescent moon to improve visibility.
  • 11 May: New moon - the best time for stargazing.
  • 26 May: Full moon, called the Milk Moon. Total Lunar Eclipse. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes completely through the Earth's dark shadow. During this type of eclipse, the Moon will gradually get darker and then take on a rusty or blood red colour. The eclipse will be visible throughout the Pacific Ocean and parts of eastern Asia, Japan, Australia, and western North America.

June stargazing highlights

  • 10 June: New moon - the best time for stargazing.
  • 24 June: Full moon, called the Rose Moon. Super moon.
mercury

Mercury

July stargazing highlights

  • 4 July: This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.
  • 10 July: New moon - the best time for stargazing.
  • 24 July: Full moon, known as Hay Moon.
  • 28/29 July: Delta Aquariids meteor shower. 20-30 shooting stars per hour could be visible, with the crescent moon helping visibility.

August stargazing highlights

  • 2 August: This is the best time to view and photograph Saturn and its moons. A medium-sized or larger telescope will allow you to see Saturn's rings and a few of its brightest moons.
  • 8 August: New moon - the best time for stargazing.
  • 12 August: Perseid meteor shower, one of the best of the year.
  • 19 August: This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter's cloud bands. A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter's four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.
  • 22 August: The second new moon of the month. Since this is the third of four full moons in this season, it is known as a blue moon. This rare calendar event only happens once every few years, giving rise to the term, “once in a blue moon.” There are normally only three full moons in each season of the year. But since full moons occur every 29.53 days, occasionally a season will contain 4 full moons. The extra full moon of the season is known as a blue moon. Blue moons occur on average once every 2.7 years.

September stargazing highlights

  • 7 September: New moon – great for stargazing.
  • 14 September: Neptune is at its closed to Earth, visible as a tiny blue dot.
  • 20 September: Full moon. As the closest full moon to the Autumn Equinox it’s called a Harvest Moon.
  • 22 September: September Equinox. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world.
neptune

Neptune

October stargazing highlights

  • 6 October: New moon – best time for stargazing.
  • 7 October: Draconids meteor shower. This one’s not prolific but it has been known for some dramatic fireballs.
  • 20 October: Full moon, also called the Hunter's Moon.
  • 21/22 October: Orionids meteor shower. This is your best bet for shooting stars in October.
  • 25 October: This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

November stargazing highlights

  • 4 November: New moon – best time for stargazing.
  • Full moon, called the Frost Moon.
  • 4/5 November: Taurids Meteor Shower. The Taurids is a long-running minor meteor shower producing only about 5-10 meteors per hour. The new moon will leave dark skies this year for what should be an excellent show. Best viewing will be just after midnight from a dark location far away from city lights. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Taurus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
  • 17/18 November: Leonids meteor shower.
  • 19 November: Full moon. Beaver Moon.

December stargazing highlights

  • 4 December: New moon – best time for stargazing.
  • 13/14 December: Geminids meteor shower. Lots of shooting stars, although the moon is quite bright this year.
  • 19 December: Full Moon, the Moon Before Yule.
  • 21/22 December: Ursids meteor shower. Only 5-10 shooting stars per hours but close to the new moon, increasing your chances of seeing a Christmas shooting star.
geminids

Geminids

Reach for the stars

Cross stargazing-in-style off your bucket list. All you need to do is pick the celestial event you want to see most, choose a cabin at one of our stunning UK locations, and wait for the show to begin.

Happy stargazing!

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