Dunwich/Westleton: Stargazers set their sights on some perfect winter viewing

Stargzers in Suffolk are expecting some spectacular sights in the night sky. Stargzers in Suffolk are expecting some spectacular sights in the night sky.

Andrew Hirst andrew.hirst@archant.co.uk
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
4:03 PM

Stargazers in Suffolk are expecting spectacular sights over the coming months as the dark winter nights offer perfect conditions for astronomical viewing.

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The National Trust at Dunwich Heath claims to have an “unrivalled” vantage point to catch a glimpse of the stunning Quantradids Meteor Shower, which peaks between midnight and dawn on Friday and Saturday.

Site manager Alison Joseph is inviting stargazers to take advantage of the low levels of light pollution to witness as many as 100 meteors shooting across the night sky every hour.

“National Trust Dunwich Heath offers visitors unrivalled views along Suffolk’s Heritage Coast, making it one of the best places in the county from which to view the meteor shower,” she said.

Quantradids, the earliest astronomical event of the New Year, ushers in a whole host of stargazing events.

Jupiter will be at its closest to Earth on Sunday, providing a great opportunity to photograph the gas giant and its many moons.

And on Monday, Visit Suffolk will be launching an interactive map showcasing all county’s events and attractions, including stargazing.

Dash Astro, a recently formed east Suffolk astronomy group said it was looking forward to the pinnacle of its viewing calendar.

“It’s the best time of year for viewing,” said founding member and group secretary Annaliese Matheron.

“We’ve just gone past the winter solstice, the nights are very dark and if we can get clear skies then we are likely to see more astronomical objects than at any other time.

“We are really very lucky here in Suffolk, we’ve got some of the darkest skies in our part of Suffolk, they really are quite phenomenal.”

The group will be hosting a Star Party next Wednesday.

Astronomers of all abilities are invited to gather on Westleton Common from 7pm.

Telescopes and binoculars will be available to use for those who do not have them.

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