Voters will go to the polls to decide Scotland's future in 500 days' time.

The group campaigning to keep Scotland in the UK, Better Together, marked the 500 days milestone to September 18 next year by publishing 500 questions on independence.

The campaigners for keeping the Union claim the pro-independence camp has met legitimate questions about independence with "bluster and assertion, rather than detail and debate".

The have posed 500 questions on Scotland's future, which they say need to be answered by those who favour independence. The questions cover topics such as Europe, defence, health and sport.

The questions have been sent to Better Together by individuals, organisations and businesses over the past few months.

It is understood that the questions will now be submitted to the SNP through parliamentary questions, freedom of information requests and letters to ministers.

Some of the questions asked are:

:: When will the Scottish Government release the full legal advice regarding Scotland's position in the EU following independence?

:: An independent Scotland would no longer be protected by the British Armed Forces, would new Scottish Armed forces units be created?

:: What progress has been made in determining the "affordability" of state pensions outlined by Finance Secretary, John Swinney, in the leaked cabinet paper?

:: Will patients from England have to pay for treatment in a Scottish NHS or will Scottish patients have to pay for treatment in a foreign country?

:: Would a separate Scotland enter teams into the Olympics and Paralympics?

Alistair Darling, chair of Better Together, said: "So far, those who want Scotland to leave the United Kingdom have relied on bluster and, sadly in the case of the EU, outright deception in order to try convince Scots to give them their backing. This, simply, is not good enough.

"This debate is too important to be based on anything other than cold, hard facts. Unfortunately, we find ourselves living in a country where legitimate questions are met with bluster and assertion, rather than detail and debate.

"Experts, businesses and trade unionists who raise their concerns about what independence means are often shouted down. Anyone who raises any questions about the wisdom of leaving the UK is accused of scaremongering.

"Over the next 500 days we will seek to change this. We will give voice to the millions of Scots who want to know exactly what separation would mean for their jobs, their pensions and their country."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the independence referendum would give people the "opportunity to take our future into our hands".

Ms Sturgeon said: "In just 500 days' time the people of Scotland will get the opportunity to answer the question 'Should Scotland be an independent country?'

"A vote for independence means we take Scotland's future into our own hands. Being independent means we always get the governments we vote for and that's very important."

The SNP depute leader also argued a Yes vote in the referendum would give Scotland "the chance to build a better future".

She stated: "We have a wonderfully diverse economy. As well as our renewable energy sector, Scotland is world-leading in life sciences, food and drink. We have some of the best universities in the world.

"Of course we have billions of barrels of oil still to be exploited in the North Sea. So, our economy has got so much going for it and we have so much potential to fulfil.

"Yet there is a paradox in Scotland today because while our economy has all of these advantages many people in Scotland feel that their living standards are under pressure like never before.

"The gap between the richest and the poorest is growing ever wider. Only independence can change this."

Ms Sturgeon continued: "Independence gives us the chance to build a better future.

"To fulfil the vast potential of our economy and make sure we have the kind of society we want to live in, the kind of society we want out children to grow up in.

"That's the benefit of independence and the opportunity that everyone in Scotland has in just 500 days. The opportunity to take our future into our own hands."

An opinion poll published less than a month ago put support for independence at 30%, with 51% in favour of Scotland remaining part of the UK and the remaining 19% undecided.

The survey, by TNS BMRB, also found support for the Yes campaign is higher among men than women, at 36% and 25% respectively.