Dark sky sites and Super full moons

We are reposting on astronomical matters because the quality of Britains’ dark sky sites and super full moon’s are in the news.

Astronomers are lamenting the amount of light pollution affecting their observations, including at some of the better known dark sky sites.  Skye, you’ll be pleased to know, was confirmed as having very low levels of light pollution.  Wherever you have a really wide field of vision the chances of good quality observations increase. The hill behind Springbank Cottage is ideal and has an extensive horizon.

Super full moons are exciting a lot of attention, not least of which from Chris Evans on Radio2, who has become rather fascinated by this phenomenon.


The difference between a supermoon and an ordinary full moon. Image by Marco Langbroek via Wikimedia Commons.

A super full moon occurs when the moon is closest to Earth and it can appear to be up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter.  The good news is that the next super full moon is due next month – on the 14th November.  But, don’t miss it.  The moon will not come this close to Earth again until November 2034!

Full moons are also associated with spring tides.  When the Earth, moon and sun are aligned, with the moon in between, the tidal pull is at its greatest.  The super full moon in November will accentuate the spring tide effect  of higher than average high tides and lower than average low tides.  This event will give the biggest tidal range of the year which is great news for rock poolers but less so for those with a boat on the beach.


See what’s in the sky in Skye!

Delving into the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s 2017 Guide to the Night Sky (which we provide at the cottage) indicates that there won’t be a super full moon in 2017; you’ll have to wait until 2nd January 2018 for it to occur again.  However, 2017 has two super new moons, one in May and the other in June.

Star gazing is one of a range of outdoor activities that we provide resources for guests to make use of during their stay at Springbank.  For full details of how a stay at Springbank could transform your holiday into an environmental discovery experience visit the environmental activities information page of our website.

For details of availability to stay at Springbank click here.