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Saturday, 5 March 2016

The Night Sky on the Epynt

I'm visiting my folks for the weekend, and took advantage of the weirdly non-cloudy weather tonight to drive off into the middle of Wales to a scenic overlook on the edge of The Epynt, a massive MoD training place (we mere civvies are allowed on the footpaths and roads around the edge) with no streetlights anywhere. It was really dark, and kind of a spooky drive with sheep-eyes reflecting the headlights from the bushes and the odd band of soldiers on exercise or whatever looming out of the darkness, but good grief it was more than worth it. There was no moon, only a few distant lights on in various farmhouses, and the smallest amount of cloud cover Wales has ever seen. Conditions were absolutely perfect for stargazing.

For Valentine's day I was given a really cool little book giving a month-by-month guide to the stars and planets and stuff. The only problem was, the visibility was so good that it was hard to see the regular constellations among all the little background-stars normally invisible behind all the light pollution! We could make out a whole load of different ones though, Leo, Orion, Canis Major, the Pleiades, and The big shiny Jupiter! (To name but a few! Seriously, there were all the stars, it was breathtaking)

My girlfriend said "I thought I'd seen the stars before. I hadn't!" I don't think it could be said more perfectly.

Go see it, find some remote dark spot, wrap up warm (warmer than I  did, I still can't really feel my feet) and sit out there soaking it all in. All we did was drive for a bit then stand by the car looking at the sky, but it was definitely one of the best things I've ever done. I'll definitely be doing it again soon!

No, I don't have a picture, my camera wasn't charged and my phone wouldn't have come close to doing it justice. I don't think any picture can. Go see it. Go on. Off you go.

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