17 February 2012
Kielder Water & Forest Park has been named as prime site to discover the stars by a pioneering new initiative.
Image attached: New image just released of the night sky from Kielder taken by amateur astronomer Mike Dickson, from Kelso - Pleiades star cluster.
Dark Sky Discovery is a UK-wide partnership of astronomy and environmental organisations wanting to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the night sky by highlighting top places to safely view the heavens.
Kielder Observatory is named as a “Milky “Way” location – the highest ranking category where people can observe the shimmering ribbon of stars that makes up one arm of our galaxy from horizon-to-horizon.
Gary Fildes, Director of the Kielder Observatory, said:
“The observatory′s profile has gone through the roof and the latest Dark Sky Discovery campaign will just add to the facility’s popularity. Well over half of the British public can’t see the Milky Way from their home, which is astonishing, and the result growing light pollution. Some have never seen this wonder of nature at all, especially youngsters. That’s what makes the dark sky oasis we have at Kielder so important.”
Kielder Observatory is running a record 300 events this year to cope with demand and has attracted around 25,000 visitors since opening in 2008. The Kielder Forest Star Camp - named as one of the world′s top ten astronomical gatherings by the influential Sky at Night Magazine - is also expanding, attracting nearly 300 observers from across the UK annually.
Dark Sky Discovery, led by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, has been granted £176,000 by the Big Lottery Fund, awarded through Natural England′s Access to Nature programme, to fund the latest initiative. Locations across the UK have been identified has offering great and safe spots to marvel at the heavens, including Cawfields Car Park, run by the Northumberland National Park, near Hadrian′s Wall. To find out more visit http://www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk/
More details on events at the Kielder Observatory - run by the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society - at www.kielderobservatory.org
Media calls to Richard Darn on 0750 8010411.