Astronomy on Romney Marsh
The dark nights once provided cover for smugglers on Romney Marsh but today the same dark skies make the Marsh of the country's best areas for stargazing due to its wide horizons and lack of light pollution.
Romney Marsh juts out into the English Channel and is often cloud free; you can often see clouds building up further inland whilst the sky here remains clear. There are records showing Lydd was the sunniest place in the UK in the 1920’s.
Due to the low population density there is little light pollution from local sources. Inland and away from the coastal strip the sky at night can be really good for astronomy. The Milky Way can be seen easily along with distant objects such as galaxies and star clusters.
Astronomers measure the darkness of the sky in units of “magnitude per arc second square”; a reading of 22 is regarded as being very dark. Readings of 21.3 taken recently near Old Romney show that Romney Marsh is indeed a really good place to pursue astronomy.
Find our more about Astronomy at Astronomy Know How
Astronomy is a fascinating and rewarding hobby, but it’s all to easy to be put off by obscure technical jargon, the enormous price of some of the equipment on sale and the sheer difficulty of knowing where to start.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement to be an ‘expert’ or a ‘top notch’ scientist, or even to buy huge quantities of expensive stuff to get going. All you need to start with is an interest in looking up at the night sky and a wish to know more about it.
Night sky over Romney Marsh, the Messier 33 Galaxy (Ack. 11)
The Ashford Astronomical Society will help you in this. They meet on the last Friday night of every month at Woodchurch Memorial Hall in Front Road, Woodchurch, TN26 3QB
The society has members from all around the Ashford area and beyond, including some from Dymchurch and New Romney. Membership is open to all and they always welcome anyone with an interest in Astronomy, just turn up on the night.
For more information, please visit the Ashford Astronomical Society website.
Light Pollution on Romney Marsh
The map bellow shows the effect of light pollution on Romney Marsh, and thus shows where the best places are to view the sky and the stars.