GetOutside Champion: Jason Rawles
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It's only when you get somewhere really dark that you can appreciate the night sky. Here's a four-step guide to making the most of a trip to the International Dark Sky Reserve.
The Brecon Beacons National Park status of ‘International Dark Sky Reserve’ was awarded in 2013 and is a recognition of ‘the exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment’ that can be seen within the park. The Reserve status means that the park will be specifically protected for its scientific, nocturnal, educational, cultural, heritage and public enjoyment.
There are currently 11 reserves in the world spread across the globe from New Zealand to Canada, with two in Wales: the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Park.
The International Dark Sky Reserve status is held in such high regard that the lighting throughout the park has been replaced over the years as part of a management plan to enhance the ability to see the night sky as clearly as possible.
Follow our simple guide below to become a stargazing expert:
STEP ONE: When you first arrive, allow your eyes to adjust to the dark. This can take up to 20 minutes.
STEP TWO: Wrap up warm by bringing a blanket and a chair as it’s best to stay out for a while.
STEP THREE: Take binoculars with you to get a close-up look at the constellations.
STEP FOUR: Download a stargazing app onto your phone, such as Night Sky or Sky Map, which will be able to describe to you what you are seeing.
Have any experiences of stargazing or astronomy in the Brecon Beacons? Share your top tips below in the comments.