Did you know The Loire Valley is the least polluted area in France, and by night this is no exception. Light pollution is the single most destructive foe to a stargazer, overwhelming the delicate glow of nebulae, clusters, and even the glow of the dense star clouds that make up the Milky Way. For this reason the best stargazing opportunities are almost always to be found in remote rural areas, far from the lights of cities and town. This is what you’ll find at Le Chat Noir, no light pollution, so plenty of opportunity for star gazing and wishing upon shooting stars
A popular misconception with Astronomy is that it requires high-priced equipment as well as great prior knowledge. However, Astronomy starts with ‘star watching’. Star watching is flexible enough to meet everyone’s enthusiasm. You can start out with your naked eye learning to identify a number of constellations and stars. You will gradually be able to recognize any constellation on a clear night sky visible to the naked eye on any time of the year. This demands of you nothing more than a bit of enthusiasm and basic knowledge of star watching.
Wait for a night that is clear and dark. Find a comfortable spot in the garden, dress suitably. Give your eyes about 20 minutes to adjust to the dark. You can see more stars when the Moon is not shining brightly, keep watching and you start to see more and more, the night skies are full of stars, sit back and be prepared to be amazed.
A star chart is an outline or map, of the night sky on a particular season of the year. Star charts are made for different seasons, simply because the sky is not the same on all times of the year. The reason behind is that the glare of the sun affects the brightness of the night sky differently in different seasons. Star charts are also occasionally made for different regions. (charts are available in the cottage)