Observe some of the darkest night skies in the UK from this purpose-built observatory, on a stunning hill top location, in Europe's first Dark Sky Park.
Loch Doon Dalmellington Ayrshire KA6 7PZ
Tel: 01292 551118
Science and Technology
(based on family of 4)
The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory offers the ultimate star-gazing experience in Scotland. Occupying a fantastic hilltop site within the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park, the observatory has access to some of the darkest skies in the UK and two large telescopes through which to view them. This new observatory includes a 20” Corrected Dall Kirkham telescope within a 5-metre dome and also a 14″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. There is also an indoor presentation room and an elevated observation deck (which is also wheelchair accessible) from which you can view the night sky using the naked eye. The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park is the first Dark Sky Park in Europe, and has been awarded a Gold-tier status by the International Dark-Sky Association.
The observatory is open to the public, amateur astronomers, groups, clubs, schools and universities, and aims to inspire people of all ages and all backgrounds with the beauty and wonder of our universe. Due to the nature of the site, night and evening visits must be pre-booked. Sessions normally lasts for around 90 minutes – they may be slightly longer in the case of a fully clear night. An evening session normally consists of an introductory presentation, followed by a tour of the facility and the telescopes. On a clear night there will be time to spend observing the night sky and using the telescopes, during which the many stars and constellations visible in the night sky will be pointed out. If the weather is poor, there may also be time for further astronomy presentations.
Even in the event of poor or inclement weather, events go ahead and the staff at the observatory do their absolute best to give you a positive experience. To preserve the integrity of the Dark Sky park, there are a few basic rules to follow – no laser pointers are allowed, and all torches used must have red filter and dim functions. Due to the location and nature of the activity, cold weather clothing must be worn. NB – the observatory is located within Galloway Forest, and so the road leading to it is unmetalled and steep in places, it is passable with ordinary vehicles but care must be taken.
Stay safe. Coronavirus advice is being updated daily and most attractions are closed. Feel free to browse for future trips. Let’s Go with the Children is still open and are here to help and support families with ideas and information to keep you safe and your kids entertained at home.