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Scottish Dark Sky Observatory
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory occupies a fantastic hilltop site on the edge of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park. This publically accessible educational observatory has some of the darkest skies in the UK and two large telescopes through which to observe the night sky. The Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park was the first Dark Sky Park in the UK and Europe, and was award a Gold-tier status by the International Dark-Sky Association. This new observatory includes a 20” Corrected Dall Kirkham telescope in a 5 metre dome and a 14″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope for a more hands-on, open air observing experience.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Awesome is the most overused word in the English language but in this case it is apt. To see the detail of the moon's surface, the rings on Saturn and so much more was 'awesome'. We were the only family there that night and being summer it was late before it was dark yet Rob took his time while we learnt so much. He explained not just what we saw but the concept of light years and the movement of planets in relation to sun and how distance was measured until we really understood these concepts. He was inspirational and our son was inspired. Apart from all that the setting of the DSO is great and the experience so peaceful. The drive up is best done in 4x4. If you need collecting they can do so. Tips - take midge repellant, go when sky is darkest and there is little/no moon. We will go more frequently as some things are seen only in the respective season. Awesome!

3  Thank Talamhgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"access road"
in 14 reviews
"well worth a visit"
in 14 reviews
"an adventure"
in 6 reviews
"last night"
in 7 reviews
"great night"
in 7 reviews
"excellent information"
in 2 reviews
"would definitely go back"
in 2 reviews
"really enjoyed our visit"
in 2 reviews
"forest park"
in 2 reviews
"great visit"
in 3 reviews
"interesting visit"
in 3 reviews
"clear instructions"
in 3 reviews
"short video"
in 2 reviews
"excellent facility"
in 2 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 4 reviews
"the staff were great"
in 2 reviews
"many thanks"
in 3 reviews

156 - 160 of 180 reviews

Reviewed July 21, 2013

I took my 14 year old son on Saturday night and this review title was straight from his lips. We traveled from the central Scottish belt and decided to camp the night nearby. A journey that was well worth while. Derek and Ron made the whole group feel welcome. Rob's enthusiasm and down to earth (excuse the pun) approach made the night very engaging as he encouraged everyone to participate and ask questions. Did I leave work on Friady night thinking I'd be seeing craters and mountains on the moon, Saturn's rings, colliding galaxies, binary stars in a galactic dance, the expanding rind of cosmic debris from an exploding star or our nearest galactic neighbour the Andromada galaxy? Time travel = the light we were looking at from these stars started their travels 100 milliion years ago.

I thought Scotland was fortunate to have a protected dark skies park but to have this open reach, public observatory is the icing on the cake. Well done to everyone involved in creating this facility. If you have ever had the desire to stare at the stars you will have to pay a visit. I have no doubt that my son and I will be time traveling again some time soon.

1  Thank Elizabeth_G_UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2013

I'm going to start right off by saying the only night we were able to go was complete cloud cover, not a single break - and we still had a great time! The observatory is beautifully built with two awesome telescopes. The staff is friendly, knowledgable and enthusiastic about astronomy. It was myself, my wife and two teenage boys and there's something magical about being in an observatory late at night in Scotland!

Because the clouds were so thick we began the evening with a slide presentation by Dave Hancox, a volunteer and amateur astronomer and astro-photogragher. He had loads of helpful tips about photographing stars, meteors with even just a simple camera. He was very charming and had a good sense of humor. There is a moderate fee if you want to reserve time with a telescope and someone to assist depending upon if you want a private viewing or group viewing. We had a family rate of 28 pounds sterling and stayed about 2 hours. We could've stayed longer if the clouds broke even a little. But stayed about 1 1/2 hours. This is also a public observatory however! That means you can bring your own telescope and set up on the hill and watch the stars for no fee whatsoever. Give them a call. There's not always someone there, but leave a message and keep trying. Also, it's a bit of a rugged road up. If you have a four wheel drive you can do it on your own. Otherwise, we were picked up in a beast of a range rover and driven to the top.

You should definitely go. And if you do we strongly recommend Rigg Cottage as a place to lodge. It's a fantastic B & B with an equally stupendous host, Kate. It's about 8 miles away. And Kate was very accommodating knowing we would be in late after the viewing, etc. Loved the observatory and loved our stay at Rigg Cottage with Kate.

3  Thank John V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2013

This is a great facility to have in the area with lots to see and learn and staffed by an enthusiastic team. Saw my first ever glimps of Mercury! So good I keep going back!

1  Thank Kram T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 13, 2013

Went for a daytime visit and found the observatory fascinating with friendly and helpful staff. Highly recommended

5  Thank Robert A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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