North Pennines Stargazing Week

Wild Wednesday

Wild Wednesday

We can’t do our usual Wild Wednesday, but we do have some self-guided activities at Bowlees Visitor Centre, available all week until Sunday. They are all on a night sky and nocturnal wildlife theme, part of North Pennines Stargazing Week 2020.

Why not try the Moon Trail while you’re at the visitor centre? If you can’t come to Bowlees, you could play the constellation game at home in your garden or on a walk, and on a rainy day, try making the pinwheel galaxy.

Nocturnal Hide and Seek

Creatures which are out and about mainly at night are ‘nocturnal’. Ones which are out during the daylight are ‘diurnal’.  If they are out and about mainly at at the very beginning and end of the day, at dawn or dusk, they are called ‘crepuscular’ Around the disused quarry at Bowlees there are painted stones of creatures found in the North Pennines AONB.

Can you find the hidden stones?

Can you sort them into nocturnal, diurnal and crepuscular creatures?

Pick up a sheet to fill in your answers at the visitor centre. Available during opening hours (10am to 4pm) from 24 October to 1 November. Free activity. 

At home: make a pinwheel galaxy

Stars are a huge ball of gas held together by gravity. The central core of a star is extremely hot and produces energy. Some of this energy is released as visible light, which makes the star glow. Stars come in different sizes, colours, and temperatures. Our Sun, the centre of our solar system, is a yellow star of average temperature and size.

A constellation is a group of visible stars that form a pattern when viewed from Earth. The pattern they form may take the shape of an animal, a mythological creature, a man, a woman, or an inanimate object such as a microscope, a compass, or a crown. The sky was divided up into 88 different constellations in 1922. This included 48 ancient constellations listed by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy as well as 40 new constellations.

A galaxy is a huge collection of gas, dust and billions of stars.  They are held together by gravity and can be spiral (look like pinwheels), elliptical (smooth and shaped like oval) or irregular (odd shapes)

Download the instructions (from the right hand menu) to make your own pinwheel galaxy that can be blown like a windmill. Activity devised and published by NASA. 

Constellation game

We can see different constellations from Bowlees when the sky is clear. Have a look at the stargazing panel in the car park for information on which you can see at different times of the year.

 Constellation creation

  1. Choose the constellation you want to create from the cards on the trees or make up your own and give it a name.
  2. Clear a space on the ground so that your constellation can be seen.
  3. Create your constellation using colourful fallen autumn leaves, sticks, rocks or any other natural material that isn’t attached to anything else.

If you can’t get to Bowlees this week, we’ve included the constellations below so you can do this activity at home. Why not take a photo of your finished constellation and send it to us at

North Pennines Stargazing Week 2020

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