December 28, 2015 6:58am CST
The MAMAS AND THE PAPAS made this one famous and while doing my first ever Stargazing expidition, I had this little tune strumming along in my mind and what an amazing evening it was: "Stars shining bright above you; Night breezes seem to whisper 'I love you'. Birds singing in the sycamore tree. Dream a little dream of me." Sutherland in the middle of the Namakwa Tundra as I call it, as it is vast, desolate but beautiful, was the Port'O Call for our Stargazing. We arrived at the Sutherland B&B rather late as we had done some BIG HOLE watching along the way. Quaint old gasstation that has recently been converted into an overnight Inn - Great hospitality and excellent service. The walls of the building are easily 50cm thick which tells me that it was built 100 years ago or more. This adds to its quaintness and what the new owners have done with it, as to keep in the trend of the farm style Sutherland of today. SALT - Southern African Largest Telescope, which is the Largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere is situated just up the winding hill to the Highest point of the valley - some 1000m above sea level. Very exciting it was for me, as it was my first visit to the area. I have realized in my older age, that one is never too old to learn anything! First the stargazing . . . . This I highly recommend to anyone that has the oppertunity to do. The guide first introduced us to the stars that can be seen in our Southern skies . . . Orion (Betelgeuse), Sirius the Brightest star in the sky, Taurus (Aldebaran). We got to see all these through the big telescopes provided and then see even more, like the Southern Star, the False Star and the Carina Nebula. The evening lasted till well after midnight, where new stars made their appearance and we rotated into their space and they shone their light into our space. JUST AMAZING. Learning about how large stars are was mind boggling, but I would not be able to tell you how, you might want to google it for yourself: Best of 2013: Planets & Stars Size Comparison - YouTube Getting to sleep that night was easy - I was starry eyed! The next morning after a scrumptious breakfast we visited SALT and took some photos in their photo booth made available to visitors. It was plenty of fun, especially for grown ups. Have you ever done stargazing? and what would be your favorite GAZE? Mine from what I have seen - with the naked eye is Orion's Belt and especially Betelgeuse and through the telescope - the Orion Nebula - where stars are born. Enjoy
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• Manchester, England
28 Dec 15
According to legend, a long time ago stars could be seen in the skies above Northern England. Those stars were bright and fascinating, so many people began to sit outside and admire them in the evening. Some local tribes even built a new religion around them and began to worship the stars. This angered the ancient Gods, who then spread dark clouds across the sky to block out the stars and punish those heathens for worshipping false Gods. Of course this is only a legend and I believe that those clouds have always been here.
• United Kingdom
28 Dec 15
The trouble is in the UK we have so much light pollution that we do not see the night sky as clearly as you do. And as Koalemos has already mentioned our grey cloudy skies always seem to appear when there is something super to watch in the sky.