A public observatory is being officially opened at the UK's only designated dark sky park.
The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is at the edge of Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park on Craigengillan estate in Ayrshire.
The park, which spans 300 sq m, was awarded its status by the International Dark Sky Association in November 2009 during the International Year of Astronomy.
Largely organised by Forestry Commission Scotland, achieving the status involved every light bulb in the area being changed to downward-facing "dark-sky" bulbs, to stop light pollution.
Forty-seven residents living within the confines of the park also agreed to change their bulbs to support the bid. The pitch-black sky makes it an ideal spot for stargazers and astronomers who can see the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, as well as all 18 constellations visible in the northern hemisphere.
It is one of only five "gold tier" dark sky parks around the world, defined as "a park or other public land possessing exceptional starry skies and natural nocturnal habitat where light pollution is mitigated and natural darkness is valuable as an important educational, cultural, scenic and natural resource".
The others are in Utah, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Texas in the United States. The dark sky observatory, the only one of its kind on offer to the public, will be officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond. But it will not open to the public immediately because the telescope is still being calibrated.
An October 1 post on the official website of the observatory said: "Last night we were able to look through the main 20inch telescope visually for the first time. We will now have to spend the next couple of weeks getting the telescope fully calibrated."
Mr Salmond said: "The Scottish Dark Sky Observatory is no less than stunning. It is situated in one of only five gold tier dark sky parks in the world, and is the only public use observatory in a dark sky park anywhere in the world.
"The observatory at Dalmellington is a fantastic asset for the tourist economy in Ayrshire and Scotland generally. Most importantly, it is also a huge economic asset for the local community - attracting direct employment, encouraging visitors to come here and providing an inspirational resource for local children and adults alike."