Galloway Forest Park has been named one of the best stargazing spots on the planet ahead of an upcoming eclipse which will be visible across much of western Scotland.

The location, which earned the title of the UK's first Dark Sky Park back in 2009, was named alongside other spots such as Exmoor National Park and Jökulsárlón in Iceland.

Introducing the list and this year's upcoming celestial events, popular travel guide Lonely Planet said: "The lineup of astrological events for 2024 includes meteor showers and partial lunar eclipses leaving stargazers in a state of wonder, and which many astrology enthusiasts believe have an impact on life.

"Mercury coming into retrograde ahead of the solar eclipse has been generating much debate on social media channels over the last few weeks, with this planetary phenomenon blamed for wreaking havoc on people’s moods and changeable minds.

"A partial solar eclipse symbolises a new chapter, a time to reflect and protect energy, whilst meteor showers are said to be gifts from the cosmos, encouraging curiosity, and imagination. Or stargazing can simply mean sitting back, relaxing, and appreciating the wonders of the universe as the solar system lights up the night sky."

Why was Galloway Forest Park named one of the world's best stargazing spots?

Galloway Forest Park was praised as a "haven for nocturnal adventurers" and for its lack of "light pollution".

Discussing the Scottish forest park, Lonely Planet said: "Initially established in 1947 to safeguard the picturesque countryside of southern Scotland, this park transitioned into a haven for nocturnal adventurers upon earning the title of Great Britain's first Dark Sky Park in 2009.

"Within its expansive 299 square miles, visitors are treated to a vast sky of darkness, free from the intrusion of light pollution. Galloway Forest Park provides the perfect blend of accessibility and celestial splendour, with three visitor centres serving as hubs for stargazing enthusiasts.

"Among these, the Clatteringshaws centre stands out as an ideal base, nestled near the park's core dark sky area. Camping within the park allows for an immersive overnight experience under the stars.

"For those seeking an even deeper dive into astronomy, the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory offers opportunities to explore the cosmos with state-of-the-art telescopes and planetarium shows."

When will the next eclipse be visible across Scotland and Galloway?

The next eclipse (at the time of writing) will be on Monday, April 8, 2024, with much of Ireland and Scotland set to see partial obscuration.

However, if you are unable to see this one, another is just around the corner. A partial lunar eclipse is set to take place on September 17.

The travel guide added: "A partial lunar eclipse occurs when only a portion of the Moon passes through the Earth's shadow, resulting in a dimming or darkening of that portion.

"Unlike a total lunar eclipse where the Moon is fully engulfed in the Earth's shadow, a partial lunar eclipse presents a stunning celestial phenomenon where a section of the Moon appears shaded or obscured. Partial lunar eclipses offer a captivating display of the Earth's shadow gradually encroaching upon the lunar surface."