Discover the night sky free of pollution in St Mawes and on the Roseland
Go stargazing and discover the wonderful night sky.
The Roseland Peninsula, like most rural parts of the South West of England, is particularly blessed with very low levels of light pollution. This means that, clear skies permitting, spectacular views of the night skies are possible even with the naked eye. With a pair of binoculars, or better still a telescope, even more detailed views are possible.
With the naked eye the observer can see as bright objects planets such as Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as the moon. Also discernible are the common stellar constellations such as Orion, The Plough and Pleiades, to name but a few. Directly overhead and having the appearance of a long faint thin cloud running in a north-south direction is an arm of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. This galaxy is estimated to contain around 200 billion stars, of which our closest star – the Sun – is one.
The planets, moon and sun rise in the east and set in the west. This is due to the direction of the earth’s rotation. Likewise the stars appear to travel in a circular path across the night sky (this movement is apparent over a period of several hours) from east to west. This circular path has at its centre the Pole Star, or Polaris, which is positioned to the north and 50 degrees upwards as viewed from an observer in the Roseland.
No visit to The Roseland would be complete without taking a few moments, or longer, to gaze up at the night sky. It is possible that you will never have seen quite such a sight, particularly if you are used to that orangey town and city night glow and the glare of nearby street lighting. Remember to keep your binoculars to hand as they will give you a more detailed glimpse of what lies beyond our world.
If you are very keen to know where the constellations are placed in the night skies, together with stars and planets, a very useful aid to have at hand is a simple device known as a ‘planisphere’. This is simply a card which has printed upon it the positions and names of stars, constellations and planets (star map). Fixed to the centre of this card is another rotatable card with an aperture to allow you to view a representation of the night skies for any month of the year. These are available online or at any large bookshops.
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Images courtesy of Barney Nicholls.