To celebrate the dark night skies and stargazing opportunities in the North Pennines the area’s first Stargazing Festival is being organised for Autumn Half Term 2017. You’ll find lots of events across the AONB running between Saturday 21 and Sunday 29 October.
Download the programme here
- Pop-up Planetarium events at Stanhope, Allendale and Alston
- Stargazing opportunities at Killhope Museum, South Tynedale Railway, Harehope Quarry and Allenheads
- Talks on our Solar System, Eclipses and Constellations
- Astrophotography workshops at Killhope Museum & South Tynedale Railway
- Beginners sessions in Teesdale and on Alston Moor
- Build your own Bottle Rocket Workshops
One of the outstanding features of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and UNESCO Global Geopark is the fantastic quality of our dark night skies. In fact it’s the darkest mainland AONB and has more officially designated Dark Sky Discovery Sites (16) than any other UK destination.
Under our skies you can reveal in views of thousands of stars at any one time and you can see the Milky Way in all its glory, along with distant galaxies and sparkling star clusters.
The programme of events is being organised by the North Pennines AONB Partnership and is supported by Visit County Durham and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
- For further information please contact Shane Harris, Responsible Tourism Lead at the North Pennines AONB Partnership, on 01388 528801 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Tour of our Solar System – Sat 21 Oct, 7-10pm
Join amateur astronomer Andy Gray at Bowlees Visitor Centre on a magical mystery tour of our very own Solar System. We’ll also do some stargazing too – weather permitting.
Astrophotography Workshop – Sat 21 Oct, 7-10pm
Learn to photograph the night sky from one of the darkest locations in the North Pennines at Killhope Museum. This highly practical three-hour introduction to photographing the night sky is being led by Gary Lintern and his expert team.
Pop-up Planetarium @ Allendale – Mon 23 Oct, 10.45am-3.45pm
Join us in Allendale Village Hall for an immersive journey through the universe in our spectacular planetarium dome. The show is suitable for all ages, lasts for approximately 45 minutes, and takes place every hour, on the hour (11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm).
Constellations – Myths, Legends and Recognition – Tues 24 Oct, 6-8pm
Discover the beauty of the Dark Skies of the North Pennines with experienced local astronomer Bruce Ferguson (from Wild North Discovery) at Harehope Quarry. We’ll start with an introductory indoor session. Afterwards, weather permitting, we’ll go out and using the naked eye, binoculars and a telescope, view some of the wonders of the universe.
Pop-up Planetarium @ Alston – Wed 25 Oct, 10.45am-3.45pm
Join us in Alston Town Hall for an immersive journey through the universe in our spectacular planetarium dome. The show is suitable for all ages, lasts for approximately 45 minutes, and takes place every hour, on the hour (11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm).
Stargazing and Astrophotography for Beginners – Wed 25 Oct, 7-10pm
Join experienced astronomer and astrophotographer Martin Kitching (from Northern Experience Wildlife Tours) at the South Tynedale Railway for an in-depth introduction to stargazing and capturing the night sky. We’ll also do some stargazing too – weather permitting.
Skywatch @ Killhope Museum – Thur 26 Oct, 6.30-9.30pm
Enjoy some of the darkest skies in the North Pennines, at Killhope Lead Mining Museum. Experienced astronomers will be on hand to show you around the night sky, using a range of powerful telescopes and other astronomy equipment.
Pop-up Planetarium @ Stanhope – Fri 27 Oct, 10.45am-3.45pm
Join us in St Thomas’ Church Hall in Stanhope for an immersive journey through the universe in our spectacular planetarium dome. The show is suitable for all ages, lasts for approximately 45 minutes, and takes place every hour, on the hour (11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm).
Real Astronomy – Fri 27 Oct, 7-10pm
Experienced astronomer Richard Darn will introduce you to the delights of stargazing, unlocking some of the secrets of astronomy, including the best way to watch a meteor shower and predict the elusive Northern Lights. We’ll also do some stargazing too – weather permitting. This event is at Langdon Beck Hotel in Upper Teesdale
Build a Rocket Workshop – Sat 28 Oct: 11am-1pm; 12noon-2pm; and 1-3pm
Design and build your very own bottle rocket in this space-themed craft workshop at Bowlees Visitor Centre and then experience the excitement of launching it!
There are three sessions – advance booking:
- Session 1 (11am-1pm): More info and booking
- Session 2 (12noon-2pm): More info and booking
- Session 3 (1-3pm): More info and booking
Eclipses Uncovered – Sun 29 Oct, 7-10pm
Join amateur astronomer Andy Gray to discover what eclipses are all about. Andy will be showing footage and images from the 2017 solar eclipse. We’ll also do some stargazing at the North Pennines Observatory @ ACA – weather permitting.