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Pen-Y-Ghent and the Milky Way Astrophotography by Pete Collins

National Parks Launch Virtual Dark Skies Week

Wednesday 21 October, 2020, by News Release

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has joined North York Moors National Park Authority and astronomy experts ‘Go Stargazing’ to hold a virtual Dark Skies Week as a taster of the main Dark Skies Festival next February.

Running from Monday 23 October to Sunday 1 November, the virtual Dark Skies Week will feature a wide variety of webinars, including:

  • A Beginners Guide to the Night Sky with astronomer Neill Sanders
  • All about the Aurora, live from the Arctic Circle with astronomer and aurora expert Matt Robinson
  • What you can see using a telescope with stargazing expert Richard Darn.

There will also be a self-guided Planet Trail for families to experience in Freeholders’ Wood at Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre.

All the events, led by expert astronomers, are free to attend and aimed at anyone with an interest in the night sky. It is hoped there’ll be a mix of virtual and live dark sky experiences ready for the Dark Skies Festival running 12 February to 28 February 2021. 

Kevin Frea, Member Champion for Promoting Understanding at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “The Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors have some of the darkest skies in the country, and weeks like this are important to help raise awareness and understanding of our dark skies. It’s also great that, in the year we’re applying for International Dark Sky Reserve status, we’ve been able to host two major dark sky events”.

Neill Sanders, from Go Stargazing, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the National Park Authorities and their virtual Dark Skies Week. Hopefully, these virtual events will give people a taste of what they might expect when visiting for the main festival in February 2021 when we hope to get outside to view the starry skies and observing galaxies, clusters and nebulae through our telescopes”.

You can find out more on the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Park Authority websites, and at Dark Skies National Parks and Go Stargazing. Events will also be listed on the National Park Authorities’ social media channels. 

Picture of News Release

News Release

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority


2 Replies to “National Parks Launch Virtual Dark Skies Week”

  1. alexandra weatherhead says:

    I have lived in the Dales National Park for over 50 years and I dearly love the peace and dark skies. My small village has resisted street lighting and it is a pleasure to go outside and look at the stars. Now the Dales Planners have given permission for a hotel and lodges at Linton, they have made a mockery of planning and Dark Stars. Poor residents of Linton. I really feel for you.

    • Comms Team says:

      Dear Alexandra
      Please find below the response that we have put on to the other post that you have left a comment on. For your info, copied and pasted here also for reference.

      There have been extensive discussions on how to mitigate any impact of the Linton Camp hotel development on the dark sky – and a number of measures brought forward. The buildings have been designed with roofs with a significant overhang to shade the windows and timber louvers would be incorporated into all high level and some low-level glazing to shade the windows from a distance. Glass would also be treated to reduce glare. The orientation of the buildings will also assist to reduce light emissions beyond the site boundary as the majority of the glazing will face into the site and the rising ground levels to the south. The applicant has stated that the external lighting scheme would be designed to be sensitive to the setting and surroundings whilst achieving the required operating standards and would be compliant with a Dark Sky Reserve status. A lighting assessment submitted with the application stated that the lighting scheme would be designed to be compliant with Environmental Zone E1 (Intrinsically dark areas such as National Parks and AONBs). However, there is still work to be done. A condition attached to the granting of planning permission will require the submission of the details of an external lighting scheme. Wendy (Communications team)

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