Turn your face up to the heavens and see the Milky Way

Isle of Wight has some of the darkest skies in the UK, with less light pollution created by street lights, neon signs and industrial lighting. In the absence of light pollution, a whole universe of stars is revealed at night.

Viewing dark skies is best done on a clear night when the sun has completely set and there is no moonlight. This is a good thing to do in the spring or autumn, when the nights get dark earlier but it’s not too cold and wet. Obviously getting away from artificial light is a good idea, and so if you get out into the countryside on the southwest of the Island you will find the skies darker. There are many places with decent dark skies, but some of the best locations are found on the back of the Wight, along the Military Road and Afton Down; or in the East we recommend Yaverland and Culver Down.

Allow time for your eyes to adjust – this takes around 20 minutes so turn off any lights, torches and put your mobile phone away. Rather than strain your neck, take some blankets or an outdoor beanbag to insulate you from the cold ground – lie down, look up and let your eyes adapt, then prepare to be awed. At any time of night you should be able to see the Milky Way, and so much more!