During the longer nights between September and March, Highland Astronomy Tours hosts evening stargazing trips for small or medium sized groups. The aim of these tours is to let you experience the wonders of the night sky under excellent dark sky conditions, well away from significant urban light pollution.
Tour Format and Content
Depending on your circumstances we can either pick you up from your accommodation or rendezvous with you at a nearby dark sky location. Either way we’ll ensure the location offers the best balance of weather and dark skies.
On arrival at the dark sky location, your astronomer and host Stephen Mackintosh will professionaly guide you on a tour of the night sky. Your tour will begin with some basics on navigating the heavens, using pointer stars and constellations, before moving on to view an array of night sky objects; from glittering star clusters, bright nebulae, galaxies and (depending on their positions) planets.
Binoculars will be provided for wide-field views of open star clusters and brighter nebulae, in addition to views from a fully tracking 200mm Schmidt-Casseagrain telescope. Depending on conditions and available time, the telescope may also be configured for live video astronomy viewing of large distant galaxies, globular clusters and planetary nebulae. Amidst the sights Stephen will happily answer any questions you might have, drawing upon his deep knowledge of astro physics to explain some of the history and dynamics behind each object of interest.
Hot chocolate will be served half way through to help keep the cold at bay.
Overall tour duration can vary between one and two hours depending on conditions. On completion of the tour Stephen will host a final Q&A session, before you’re driven safely back home, in time for a good nights sleep, and hopefully with a renewed sense of wonder in the night sky!
How to Prepare
Winter in the highlands can be very cold, especially in exposed moors and glens, so wear plenty of warm clothes, preferably layered to trap air. Wearing two pairs of socks is a good idea as the cold can quickly penetrate into unprotected toes and feet. Feel free to bring your own smaller spotting scopes or binoculars if you wish although these are provided.
Booking and Cancellations
Please contact us to book a slot from the list of available dates in the Google calendar below. Entries marked ‘Evening Stargazing Slot’ indicate provisional tour dates which you can reserve a space on. Due to the requirements for reasonable observing conditions, excursions will generally only be confirmed a few hours before, by telephone or text message. Also, please pay attention to the Moon phases shown in the calendar as dates with a prominent Moon are not suitable for viewing the Milky Way.
If your tour is cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, we can offer you a voucher for use on another date, or a full ‘no quibbles’ refund.
To book, please use one of the following methods of contact:
- £40 per person (with discounts for larger groups)
We also dispense coded Gift Vouchers for recipients to use at a future date of their choosing (subject to the criteria mentioned above).
Calendar of Available Dates
Please check available tours dates on the calendar below and call for availability.