Dark Skies Festival on the cards for Yorkshire’s national parks in 2016

Date Posted: 07/12/2015

Yorkshire’s national parks will team up in February half term 2016 to hold a Dark Skies Festival, a celestial celebration taking place after dark.

The Dark Skies Festival will aim to get the public into stargazing through a variety of events held in the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales national parks.

The low light pollution in the national parks makes them the ideal locations for watching the skies and spotting constellations, shooting stars and other cosmic happenings.

Both are designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites and have skies that are dark enough to see the Milky Way with the naked eye.

Events will include a dark sky trail run, evening caving, storytelling, glow-in-the-dark writing, poetry readings, a solar system scavenger hunt, telescope-making and craft activities throughout the week.

There will also be a Star Party on Saturday 20th which will be particularly good for groups, with star gazing, illustrated talks, advice, craft activities and telescope making on offer.

Richard Darn, astronomer and dark skies hunter, explained, “Yorkshire is fortunate to have some very special spots in both national parks which are a stargazer’s paradise. In an urban area you will be lucky to see 20 stars on a clear night whereas in an area of low light pollution such as the national parks you could see as many as 2,000.

“We will glimpse the great winter constellations of Orion and Gemini as they give way to the sparkling spring stars of Leo. We’ll also have a stunning view of Jupiter and a waxing moon. It’s a fabulous time to celebrate this amazing Universe and our wonderful dark parks.”

Visitors will also be able to take part in guided torchlight walks to discover the wildlife activity of the area at night.

The Moors National Park Centre in the North York Moors has spaces for coaches in the main car park.

For more information, visit www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/darkskies or www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/stargazing.

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