5 Things You Should Know About The Dark Skies Festival
Here at Aysgarth Lodges, we are lucky enough to be positioned in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park – a recognised Dark Skies Zone! So here is our quick guide to the upcoming dark skies festival.
1. What is the Dark Skies Festival?
The Dark Skies Festival is a celebration of the incredible skies that benefit from low light pollution in the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With an increasing amount of light pollution in urban areas, the dark sky areas are protected to preserve the incredible display of stars you’ll see twinkling above us.
2. When is the festival?
The festival is happening in the Yorkshire Dales from the 9th to the 25th of February 2024.
3. How can I get involved?
There are a number of ways to enjoy the festival. Simply taking time to star gaze and enjoy the thousands of stars looking back at you might be just the ticket! But if you are looking for some extra activities, these might be of interest:
- Dark Skies Planet Trail at Aysgarth Falls National Park Visitor Centre
- THE DARK SKIES EXPERIENCE at Stump Cross Caverns
- Photo Walk: Painting with Light
- Beginners’ Guide to the Night Sky with Richard Darn at Grassington Bunk Barn – stargazing with hot chocolate and biscuits
- Café under the Stars at The Dales Bike Centre
- Beginners Guide to the Night Sky and Rocket Making at The Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes
- And many more events! For the full list, click here
4. What’s up there?!
- The moon! The closest celestial object to the Earth … but still a 9 year walk from the earth if you were to set off and go without stopping!
- Comets – less common and made up of dust and volatile ices such as water, CO2 and ammonia…rare to see with the naked eye but you might be lucky enough to catch one!
- Planets – there are often 5 that are bright enough to see with the naked eye. Obvious ones to look out for are Venus and Mars.
- Stars! And lots of them …the sun is our nearest star but there are many different ones visible across the night sky
- The Northern Lights – can be seen across England but more likely in the North during the wintertime and the darker this skies… the better the chance of seeing them!
5. What do I need?
A few recommendations to get the most from star gazing…
- Warm clothing and a blanket – wrap up warm and get comfy!
- Star, moon and planet charts – this will help you identify what is above you. There are also some great apps you can get on your phone or tablet but the light from these may stop your eyes adjusting fully to the dark.
- Patience! It may be a little cloudy and take a while for your eyes to adjust but sit back and enjoy the moment.
Fancy joining us in the Dales for this magical festival? Book your stay here.
Photo credit: James Allinson
Written by: Jodie McGregor, Aysgarth Lodges Sales Executive