Sheffield ranked as one of the best in the UK for stargazing

Stargazing is the perfect evening activity for families in Sheffield as the city came second in a study that revealed the best cities in the UK to watch stars.

By Kian Rains
Thursday, 11th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 10:39 am

Parkdean Resorts recently revealed Sheffield to be the second-best UK city to stargaze, with the Peak District right on our doorstep – a perfect stargazing location.

Sheffield has less light pollution than other major UK cities studied, and not only that, it is 88 meters above sea level, giving city residents an advantage of seeing the stars.

Darren Swindells, who is a member of the Sheffield Astronomical Society said: “There’s so much you can see; Mars is high up at the moment, the moon is good to look at and then you’ve got star clusters, there’s galaxies, gas clouds and things you can study like double stars and variable stars as well.

See how many different stars and planets you can find with a relaxing night of stargazing: FEDERICO PARRA/Getty Images

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    “If you’ve got a telescope, you can look at Jupiter and see its moons going around and see the shadow of its moons on the planet.

    “You can start off by looking at things with the naked eye, there was a comet in October or November time, and that was something you could see with the naked eye or with binoculars.

    “There are things you can see with small telescopes, like the craters of the moon and other planets, and then with the larger telescopes, with bigger apertures, you can start seeing some of what we call the deep-sky objects, the faint fuzzy blobs, nebulae, galaxies and star clusters.”

    Speaking about the fireball that was seen by people across the country, Darren said: “it’s a rare kind of meteor, it wasn’t just a normal one, it’s what’s called a carbonaceous chondrite so it’s a rare version.

    “It’s important because if they can get to the insides of it without it being affected by our atmosphere and absorbing gases or moisture from the earth itself. So if it picked up, isolated and protected early enough, the central portions won’t have changed since the beginning of the solar system. It’s basically a free sample of the early part of the solar system that they can gather without even doing anything.

    “They can look at things like the proportion of gases and the different elements to try and work out what was around at the time. Because they have got images of this thing coming down, they can track its orbit backwards, so once they have done the very fancy mathematics, they should be able to track its orbit to within a short distance to find out where it actually came from, what part of the solar system.”

    Seeing stars in the sky can sometimes be difficult, as many factors determine what we can see, but experts have shared their top stargazing tips with us.

    First of all, you should turn the lights off in your home to reduce the light pollution that makes stars less visible to the naked eye.

    Stargazing is also best done when the moon is not full, so it is recommended to check the moon phase before going outside.

    Another key tip is to sit in a dark room to get your eyes adapted to the darkness.

    You can view the full study by Parkdean Resorts here.

    In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

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