Details of the 2019 Dark Skies Festival, in Yorkshire, have been revealed and group accommodation will also be available.

Dark Skies Festival

The festival will be taking place between 15th February and 3rd March across both the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, the Howardian Hills and Nidderdale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Festival’s programme will include more than 100 events across the protected landscapes.

Visiting the Dark Skies Festival

Tim O’Brien, professor of astrophysics at the University of Manchester and associate director of the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, will shed light on some of the greatest cosmic curiosities at the opening event.

Speaking at Castle Howard near Malton, O’Brien, who makes regular appearances on BBC Radio Five Live and Breakfast TV, as well as having featured on Stargazing Live and Radio 4’s Life Scientific, will captivate audiences with his ‘Our Place in the Universe’ talk.

Many of the events will be themed around the moon to celebrate the 50th anniversary year of the first landing by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and because the first week of the festival will coincide with a full moon phase.

Visitors can expect moon gazing sessions using powerful telescopes, nocturnal nature watch evenings together with guided cycling, running and walking events in woodlands, across the moors and in coastal villages under moonlit skies as well as crafting activities such as rocket-making.

Astronomers will take festival-goers on a guided tour of the galaxies, planets and constellations with stargazing sessions at many historical sites including Bolton Castle, Malham Cove, Ryedale Folk Museum and Sutton Bank.

Visitors can also enjoy the celestial celebration by learning astro photography skills and by riding Go Ape’s night zip wire at Dalby Forest, a new experience introduced for the first time during the 2018 Festival.

Each National Park has three Dark Sky Discovery locations where skies are sufficiently dark to potentially view the Milky Way with the naked eye. The North York Moors sites are at The Moors National Park Centre at Danby, Sutton Bank and Dalby Forest.

The Yorkshire Dales Dark Sky Discovery locations are at Hawes, Malham and Buckden.

Many of the events are free to attend however selected events may have a charge.

Group accommodation option

Cober Hill Hotel near Scarborough is gearing up for group accommodation during the festival, offering 65 en-suite rooms.

The hotel will provide certain equipment, such as binoculars and stargazing leaflets for guests to use in the grounds of the hotel and it will also run specific stay and gaze packages on certain dates throughout the year when expert astronomers will lead groups on a tour of the night sky.

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Main image: Credit: Steve Bell.