Thanks to its location, far from all light pollution, the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park is one of Galicia’s best Starlight destinations. At Mar de Ons we organise evening trips to Cíes and Ons so that you can learn about astronomic observation, accompanied at all times by an expert guide who will help you to identify constellations, stars, planets and other astronomical objects. Who’s up for it? 😉
What is a Starlight destination?
Destinations that have Starlight certification are places that enjoy excellent qualities for observing starry skies. This accreditation was created by the Starlight Foundation, a body promoted by the Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute whose purpose is to protect the night sky and culturally promote astronomy.
Lovers of astro-tourism have two Starlight destinations in Galicia: one of them is the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park and the other is Trevinca (in Ourense). Although both are highly recommended, in this case we are going to focus on the archipelagos of Cíes and Ons as two of Galicia’s best starlight destinations.
Atlantic Islands, Galicia’s best Starlight destinations
In addition to their beaches, their cliffs or their lighthouses, it is worth visiting Cíes and Ons for their night skies. In full darkness, from these islands you can see the moon, stars and constellations, the Milky Way, the planets, meteors, artificial satellites, shooting stars…
Perhaps one of the main attractions of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park, as one of Galicia’s best Starlight destinations, is contemplating its signature sunsets (in Galician, solpores). The west side of the park, specifically, offers some beautiful sunsets, with a colourful sky. When night falls, it is fascinating to see how the first stars and first planets begin to appear.
It is important to emphasise that the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park has facilities designed for astro-tourism. Each archipelago has permanent tables with star maps to make it easier to interpret the night sky.
In any case and as we mentioned at the beginning of this post, Mar de Ons organises evening trips to see the stars on Cíes and Ons supervised at all times by an expert guide in astronomy who explains and helps you to understand the different astronomical phenomena.
Recommendations for astronomical observation
These are some of the recommendations from the Galician authorities to enjoy an astronomy day in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park:
- Wear sports footwear and warm clothing. Depending on the time of year, you might need a hat, scarf or gloves.
- Never look directly at the sun (not even when it is less bright), as you could cause damage to your retina.
- For lighting, use a torch with a red light. Red light is softer than white light and, therefore, is less blinding.
- Always direct light beams towards the floor, never towards the eyes or the sky.
- Switch lights off when they are not needed.
- Do you have a pair of binoculars or a telescope? Take them with you.
- Don’t deviate from the paths provided for public use and, if you are travelling with food, remember that you need to take a bag for the waste since there are no bins on the island.
By following these simple tips, you can enjoy a spectacular evening on the archipelagos of Cíes and Ons. In addition to the sky, you will also be captivated by the sound of the sea and some animals that form part of the night fauna of the Atlantic islands: cicadas, toads, nightjars and bats, among others.
Observe the stars in Cíes with Mar de Ons
Follow us on social media to stay up to date with our Starlight experiences on Cíes and Ons. The tours have an approximate duration of three hours and are guided by expert technicians, so you don’t need to have any previous experience in the field of astronomy.
At Naviera Mar de Ons, we regularly organise astronomic activities in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park, one of the best Starlight destinations of Galicia and Spain. We also offer these activities for groups: to obtain further information, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what type of group you are and how many of you want to take part in this starlight adventure.
Apart from the evening trips that may take place throughout the year to watch the stars, there is an event we never miss: the meteor showers known as Perseids or Tears of St Lawrence, which usually take place between 11th and 13th of August. It is fascinating to see it from the sea!
You may also be an ardent lover of astronomy and want to spend one or several nights on Cíes or Ons analysing the sky for yourself. If so, book your ticket with us and spend a few days on the island as a camper. It will be an ideal trip.
A sky free from light pollution is waiting for you at Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park. Our crew will be delighted to welcome you! 🙂