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Style & Stuff Editorial

darksy.jpg Dark Skies Festival

A new virtual festival is being organised this February to celebrate Northumberland as one of the best places to stargaze and take in the majesty of the Milky Way on a clear night.

Officially, Northumberland has ‘the most pristine dark skies in England’ and in 2013 the National Park and most of Kielder Water and Forest Park became England’s first International Dark Sky Park (Gold Tier), as awarded by the International Dark Sky Association.

The festival is being hosted on the Northumberland National Park website and is led by four regional observatories: Battlesteads, Kielder, Stonehaugh and Twice Brewed and will take place from 12th – 21st February. There will be a wide variety of things to see and do – from fireside chats with Northumberland’s astronomers, to night sky guides and livestreams to help people stargaze from the comfort of their homes and neighbourhood. Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, the focus will be on online events, but the organisers hope to see visitors come to the many venues dotted around Northumberland when they are able to reopen and it is safe to do so.

Online events include the CPRE Star Count from the 8th-14th February, and Kielder Observatory’s Escape Velocity astrophotography art project. Funded by Northumberland County Council, the project will be launched during the week and is a masterclass on nightscape photography encouraging children to image the dark skies with mobile phones.

The Dark Skies festival will take place from 12th-21st February, and all online events will be free of charge. For more details on the event programme and to book events, visit: https://www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/northumberland-dark-skies-festival/.