Holidaying with the stars

Astrobulles at the Ferme des Etoiles
Stars twinkle far above the sci-fi-looking astrobulles which serve as sleep quarters for guests at Ferme des Etoiles

You do not have to go to the moon and back to brush up on your astronomy. Nick Inman gets to grips with the galaxy from the comfort of a Gascon farm

France’s rolling countryside offers many fine views but the most spectacular of them all only appears after dark. Away from the bright lights of big cities, it is possible to step into the garden on any cloudless night and survey a tapestry of twinkling stars set against the inky blackness of space.

The great thing about star-gazing is that you do not have to make any special preparations. Simply stand still for a few minutes, let your eyes grow accustomed to the lower light level and watch the night sky slowly open up its treasures.

If you wish, star charts, apps and websites can provide useful navigational tools to help you sort your Ursa Minors from Orions, while a pair of binoculars will make things clearer still.

Celestial guide

However, it is far easier to understand what is going on in the night sky if you have someone experienced to show you around. ...

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