Exploring the dark skies of Mid Wales

Back in November I spent a wonderfully quiet week staying near the town of Rhayader, in Mid Wales. The Welsh countryside around where I stayed is renowned for its wildlife and dramatic scenery, but the reason I went there – of course – was for its dark night skies. Unfortunately of the seven nights I was there only one was clear enough to get the telescope out.

Below you’ll find a few of the images I captured over the course of that evening. As you can see, thin patchy clouds and haze enhanced the small amount of light pollution visible, so I didn’t experience the skies there at their absolute darkest. I guess that means I’ll just have to go back and visit again next year.

Venus sparkles above the vibrant glow of twilight. Credit: Will Gater

Jupiter shines through thin mist against a starry backdrop. Credit: Will Gater

The magnificent Orion rises over the skyline. Credit: Will Gater

The Triangulum Galaxy. Taken with a Canon 550D on a William Optics 66mm refractor, autoguided by a Sky-Watcher SynGuider & an 80mm refractor. Credit: Will Gater

The constellation of Auriga (and several bright star clusters). Credit: Will Gater

The Crab Nebula (M1). Taken with a Canon 550D on a William Optics 66mm refractor, autoguided by a Sky-Watcher SynGuider & an 80mm refractor. Credit: Will Gater

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