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Star gazing survey leaves out region

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By Christie Breen
Dumfries and West
Star gazing survey leaves out region

A STUDY on stargazing in the UK has been dubbed as ‘nonsense’ by a Dumfries and Galloway based dark sky ranger.

The research by BestGamblingSites.com analysed light pollution data to predict the best and worst locations in the UK for stargazing this April.

The study claims that St David’s in Pembrokeshire, Wales is the “ultimate destination for stargazing with the clearest view in the UK.”

However, no dark sky towns or reserves, including Moffat and the Galloway Forest Park, were included in the data.

Instead the data focuses on large towns and cities and ranks them based on three factors artificial brightness, sky quality meter (SQM) and the Borte scale.

The Borte scale is a classification system which uses astronomical observations to measure light pollution. The scale runs from 1 (darkest, best for stargazing) to 9 (worst for stargazing).

The sky quality meter is an instrument used to give a reading on the luminance of the night sky. A rating of 16.00, is the lowest and therefore the brightest sky, whereas 22.00 is the highest and thus the darkest.

Meanwhile, Artificial Brightness measures sky brightness against natural brightness.

LEFT OUT . . . Moffat Observatory

Dark Sky ranger Matthew McFadzean regularly runs tours around both Moffat and the Galloway Forest Park and is stunned by the results, as he told the Annandale Series: “This sounds like complete nonsense. If you were to go out on clear night in Manchester or any other major city, you would see a maximum of 100 stars. Compare that to Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park where you’d see 7000 stars just with the naked eye, with binoculars it would be closer to 7 million.

“It sounds like they’ve taken the data from the fireworks and swapped for stars.”

When questioned about the soundness of the study, a spokesperson for Best Gambling Sites yesterday stated: “The data was sourced in October 2022 and originally covered the locations in the UK that would have the best visibility for fireworks. For this purpose, the most populous locations in the UK most likely to host fireworks displays were selected.

“This contrasts with Dark Sky towns which aren’t population centres as large as cities, and therefore less likely to host large fireworks events.

“For this study, we repackaged the light pollution data slightly to focus on the areas from the original seed list which would have the best visibility for stargazing based on the same factors, such as artificial brightness, sky quality meter and the Borte scale.”

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