In 2016, the entirety of the South Downs National Park was designated as an International Dark Skies Reserve. As one of 10 Dark Skies Discovery Sites within the National Park, Seven Sisters Country Park is one of the best places to view the night sky.
On a clear night from October through to March, it’s possible to catch glimpses of the Milky Way as it rises above the famous chalk cliffs.
Stargazing top tips
- Check the phase of the moon to plan your trip – stargazing is best before a full moon
- Take a blanket or mat to lie on
- Wrap up warm
- Take some snacks and a hot drink
- Take a compass or use the one on your smart phone
- Download a star gazing app to help you identify constellations and stars. SkyView is good for beginners
- Allow time for your eyes to adjust – this takes around 20 minutes so turn off any lights, torches and put your mobile phone away
How to photograph the night sky
Below are a few helpful tips to follow if photographing the night skies for the first time. Remember, like most art forms, astrophotography takes alot of practice and patience:
- Use a tripod.
- With the widest F-Stop available; experiment with ISO settings between 400–1600.
- Use a 10 second delay (self-timer) and set the exposure to around 25–30 seconds – the delay will eliminate button-press shake.
- Try briefly illuminating landscape features in the foreground by quickly flashing a torch.
- Beat the cold. Wrap up warm and take spare batteries!