Stonehaugh Stargazing Pavilion
Stonehaugh Campsite enjoys some of the darkest skies in England so it's a fantastic place for Stargazing. Rural Northumberland has very low levels of light pollution which give us truly dark skies.
This is why the Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park have been designated as an International Dark Sky Park.
The International Dark Skies Association (IDA) has given the park its “Gold Tier” status - its very highest level of award.
We have kept lighting on the campsite to a minimum level so the night sky can be truly appreciated while you are here. You can also stroll along to the Stonehaugh stargazing pavilion which is ten minutes from the campsite. The Pavilion, opened in July 2014, was designed so that you can view the sky while being shielded from the elements.
What to see...
During our camping season late August and, September are the best months for stargazing.
- On a clear night you can see thousands of stars at any one time.
- Most people have never seen the Milky Way, but at Stonehaugh you can see it glow across the sky.
- The campsite is a great place to see meteor showers.
- The furthest object you can see with your naked eye is the Andromeda Galaxy – a vast island of stars very similar to our own Milky Way.
- You can have a beautiful view of the moon with binocular particularly in its first and last quarters when craters and mountain ranges are more visible.
- At particular times you can see the International Space Station glide across the sky.
- There is also the chance to see the Aurora Borealis with the right conditions.
Why not book into an event at the observatory? Situated about 30 miles away, this public astronomical facility is located in kielder forest. Events usually run in the evening and are popular - so be sure to book! You can also visit the observatory buildings during the day and roam around when no events are taking place.
Aurora over Stonehaugh
Totem Poles against the night sky
- The best time to see the stars in when there is no Moon - the Moon is a source of light pollution! However planets are unaffected by the Moon's presence and Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus can all be seen when they are above the horizon.
- Bring a pair of binoculars. They are easy to use and good for observing the Milky Way, star clusters and bright galaxies.
- Bring a torch along, a red light is best as it does not affect your eyes when they are attuned to low light levels. Covering a 'white light' torch with red paper, acetate or suitable nail varnish will also work.
- Having a folding chair, warm clothing (even in summer it can get cold) and a flask containing a hot drink will help you enjoy the skies in comfort.