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Page last updated at 11:21 GMT, Thursday, 16 December 2010
Stargazing LIVE: My life of stars on the Kent coast
By Melanie Wrigley
White Cliffs Countryside Partnership

Extraordinary astronomical events took place in our skies in early January

As the part of the BBC's Stargazing LIVE, amateur astronomer Mel Wrigley explains how stars have always been part of her life:

My interest in stars really started when I was about seven years old.

I found a small children's book of star constellations at a jumble sale and it became my favourite book.

As I got older I was proud to be the only Guide in our company that was awarded the Stargazer badge when I was about 12 years.

My interest continued, I used to 'pop' into astronomy lectures (if I could fit them in) when I was studying at university, even though I was studying biological sciences and geology.

Keep yourself safe
Go with other people
Dress up in warm
Take a flask of hot drink
Stay away from water's edge
Stay away from cliff edges

That little children's book inspired me to set up night sky watching events for the organisation I work for now - the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (WCCP) based around Dover and Folkestone area. Our novice astronomy guided walks have now been running for over 20 years.

Where to stargaze

There are some good places to go star spotting in the White Cliffs Heritage Coast area and either side of the Dover and Folkestone area. You need to find somewhere where there is as little artificial light as possible. Light pollution can be a big problem as it drowns out the star light.

• There is a public car park near Walmer Castle which looks out over the sea
• St Margaret's Bay car park
• The Kearsney Abbey car park, at Dover is quite good but be careful because there are lakes there some areas are fenced but not all water's edge is fenced
• The beach at Folkestone below The Leas at the Coastal Park on the beach near the Mermaid cafe
• The seafront along Prince's Parade between Seabrook and Hythe

Stargazing LIVE

Stargazing LIVE hosted by Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain showed images from the most powerful telescopes on Earth, and beyond. Watch clips of the programme here.


Stargazing Live in Sussex
16 Dec 10 |  People & Places
Stargazing Live in Surrey
15 Dec 10 |  People & Places
Dara O'Briain on astrophysics
15 Dec 10 |  Entertainment & Arts


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