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Stargazing at Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps and Carnewas – just moments up the coast from the hotel – has Dark Star Discovery status, meaning it’s one of the best places to stargaze in Cornwall, and the UK.

In this over-digitised age, stargazing can be delightfully disconnected and a great hands-free hobby to take up, though there are, of course, plenty of great mobile apps out there to help you get started (see below).

Whether you leave your smartphone at home or bring it with you, pack up your stargazing kit and go back to nature for a night out with a difference.

You will need:

  • Something waterproof to sit on and warm clothing.
  • We like to make up a flask of hot chocolate for our guests when they go out stargazing, and provide some blankets to take along as well.
  • Binoculars are handy but optional. There’s plenty to see without them – galaxies 2½ million light-years away are visible to the naked eye, you know.
  • Plenty of time and patience. Locating constellations can be hard, but persevere. Astronomy teaches patience, humility and calm – three qualities that can only enhance your relationship. Focus on the wonder of the night sky.
  • A map of the night sky. You don’t need any astronomical knowledge to enjoy stargazing, but hunting for constellations can be a big part of the adventure. Find a free, printable night sky map here. We can print these off for our stargazing guests at reception, just pop by.
  • A torch to read your night sky map and a piece of red paper to place over the beam. Red light doesn’t interfere with your eyes adjusting to the dark as much as white light.

The best places to stargaze:

  1. If you’re staying with us here at Bedruthan, that’s easy. You’ll have a Dark Star Discovery site right on your doorstep. Bedruthan Steps has been recognised as one of only two places in Cornwall that are sufficiently free of light pollution to make great stargazing spots and it’s just a stone’s throw from the hotel. An evening walk along the Coast Path is a special pleasure not to be missed.
  2. Visit the Dark Star Discovery website here for other good places to go in your area.

What to do:

  1. Check which constellations are visible here and plan which ones you want to look for.
  2. Spread out your waterproof groundsheet, lie back, look up and relax. Give your eyes 20 minutes to adjust to the dark, be patient and don’t try too hard. Slowly, very slowly, your eyes will start joining dots together and a planet or constellation, star cluster or even a galaxy will appear to you.
  3. Remember to wish on shooting stars.

Stargazing apps:

Astronomy may be an ancient science, but there’s plenty of 21st century help available to make you master of the universe. Find apps for ipads and iphones here.

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