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What Can You See In The Dark Skies Above Snowdonia?

Published on 19 Mar 2019 by Gwion Llwyd

Snowdonia National Park is a Dark Sky Reserve, one of only 13 places in the world that carries this prestigious title. They are areas of very low light pollution giving an exceptional quality of starry nights. As with areas of special interest on the ground, Dark Sky Reserves are nocturnal environments that are specifically protected for their scientific and educational purposes.

What this means to you and me is that in Snowdonia, you have the most incredibly clear views of the sky above allowing you to see the stars and constellations as you’ve never seen before. Springtime is a great time to stargaze as the evenings still come in relatively early and it’s not as cold as the winter months. Each month brings different constellations for us to see as everything moves throughout the year and this is what you can see in the Dark Skies above this April from Snowdonia…

The Cup | Crater

One of the smaller constellations, it was one of the 48 constellations identified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century. It represents Greek God Apollo’s goblet which he casts into the sky to become a constellation when he unearths a lie told to him by Corvus, a sacred bird.

The Sea Serpent | Hydra

The constellation Hydra is one of the longest constellations and one of the 48 constellations first listed by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. In Greek mythology, it represents the Hydra which was a giant beast with the body of a dog and head of 100 snakes. Slain by Hercules on the second of his twelve labours set by the King of Mycenae.

The Lion | Leo

Leo is the 12th largest constellation in the night sky and one of the zodiac signs which means that is lies along the path the Sun travels in the year. It is easily recognisable because of its many bright stars and distinctive shape. Again it is is one of the 48 constellation first identified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy and one of the oldest constellations in the sky. In Greek mythology, it was named after the lion, which was killed by Hercules on the first of his twelve labours for the king of Mycenae.

The Great Bear | Ursa Major

The third largest and one of the best known constellations as it is where you’ll also find the Big Dipper which is an asterism (a smaller group of stars within a constellation). Cataloged by Ptolemy, it is one of the most recognisable and oldest constellations in the sky. In Greek mythology, it is associated with Callisto, a nymph who was turned into a bear by Hera, the jealous wife of Zeus.

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