stargazing at Killhope

The second North Pennines Stargazing Festival returns to the Durham Dales this October half term, with a star studded line up of exciting events, activities and talks.

Celebrating the magnificent dark skies of the North Pennines AONB (the darkest mainland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) there’s 30 events taking place between 20 October – 4 November that will fascinate both seasoned stargazers and amateur astronomers.

Dr Maggie-Aderin-Pocock MBE

Highlights include Sky at Night favourite; Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE who will headline the festival at The Witham, Barnard Castle on Saturday 20 October, where she will be looking at the wonders of space and what it can teach us. The out of this world Star Camp returns for a two night special at Doe Park Caravan Park, where families can explore the night sky with expert guidance from experienced astronomers. Plus the popular Pop-up Planetarium will popping up in Stanhope, Alston and Allendale.

The Sky at night from North Pennines AONB

The North Pennines Stargazing Festival 2018 programme

Sun 12 Aug, 6pm to 1am Killhope Museum, Upper Weardale

A special festival ‘launch-pad’ event with a range of activities – rocket launching, folk music,
projected astronomical images and drop-in space-themed workshops.
From 10pm, lie back in deck chairs to enjoy 60 to 70 shooting stars an hour.

Fri 19 – Sun 21 Oct, Doe Park Caravan Site, Teesdale

Join experienced astronomer Richard Darn and friends for the first ever two-night star camp under the North Pennines sky. Telescopes will be provided, together with expert guidance, talks and solar observing.

Sat 20 Oct, 1.30 to 3pm, The Witham, Barnard Castle

Explore the dark skies and stars creatively with artist Gemma McColl from Suitcase Studios. Learn how to paint on silk and create your own constellation! Aimed at 4–11 year olds but all welcome.

Sat 20 Oct, 7.30pm, The Witham, Barnard Castle

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE will be looking at the wonders of space and what it can teach us – as well as offering insights into the world of space exploration and a perspective on women in science and engineering. As well as fronting The Sky at Night, Maggie has appeared in many programmes, including Stargazing Live and The Science of Doctor Who.

Sun 21 Oct, 10am to 12noon, 12.30 to 2.30pm, and 3 to 5pm, Bowlees Visitor Centre, Upper

Discover the planets on a guided walk to Gibson’s Cave with Astro Joe then make a space themed diorama with planets, space ships, aliens and space dust.

Mon 22 Oct – Sun 4 Nov, 10am to 4.30pm at Bowlees Visitor Centre, Upper Teesdale
Children – 50p

Follow the themed outdoor trail to discover the planets. If you unlock the secret word, win a space-themed prize!

Mon 22 Oct: 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, St Thomas’ Church Hall, Stanhope

Journey through the universe in our spectacular planetarium dome. An immersive 45-
minute show, suitable for all ages, with lots of new films. Repeated every hour on the hour.

  • Primary Rocket Workshop (Ages 5-10)

Tues 23 Oct, 10am to 12noon, South Tynedale Railway, Alston

Build and launch an air-powered stomp paper rocket – how far will it fly? All materials
supplied.

  • Secondary Rocket Workshop (Ages 11+)

Tues 23 Oct, 2 to 4pm, South Tynedale Railway, Alston
Build and launch an air-powered bottle rocket – how far will it fly? All materials supplied. Suitable for ages 11+.

  • Alston Skywatch

Tues 23 Oct, 7 to 9pm, South Tynedale Railway, Alston

‘Hands on’ night of stargazing, where you will learn how to move the telescopes around to discover things yourself.

Tues 23 Oct, 6 to 8pm, Harehope Quarry Project, Weardale

Discover the North Pennines’ dark skies with local astronomer Bruce Ferguson. After an
Introductory indoor session, we will go out and do some stargazing (weather permitting).

Wed 24 Oct, 10.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30 to 3.30pm, Bowlees Visitor Centre, Upper Teesdale

Discover the creatures that come out after dark. Craft activities and mini-beast walks aimed
at children aged 4-13.

  • Dark Side of the Moon – Planetarium Show

Wed 24 Oct: 6, 7, 8 and 9pm, Nenthead Village Hall, Alston Moor

Experience Pink Floyd’s entire 'Dark Side of the Moon' album in the pop-up planetarium dome, with real-time visualisations and animations. The show lasts for 45 minutes, and takes place every hour, on the hour.

  • Pop-up Planetarium @ Alston

Thur 25 Oct: 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, Alston Town Hall
Adults - £5; Concessions - £2; Families - £10

Journey through the universe in our spectacular planetarium dome. An immersive 45-minute show, suitable for all ages, with lots of new films. Repeated every hour, on the hour.

Thur 25 Oct, 7pm, The Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland

An evening of stargazing for beginners with Joe Gordon at the Gatehouse. There will be hearty stew and a delicious pud to keep you warm, with the fire pits lit, cosy blankets and hot chocolate.

  • Skywatch @ Killhope

Fri 26 Oct, 6.30 to 9.30pm, Killhope Museum, Upper Weardale

Enjoy some of the darkest skies in the North Pennines with experienced astronomers from the Sunderland Astronomical Society who will show you around the night sky. Displays and activities are available in the Buddle House together with projected astronomical images.

stargazing in the north pennines

Sat 27 Oct, 12noon to 5pm, Durham Dales Centre, Stanhope

Projections of work by local photographers, featuring the dark skies and landscapes of the AONB. This is an immersive experience, shown on a 10-minute rolling basis.

  • How Old Are You, Really?

Sat 27 Oct, 7 to 10pm, North Pennines Observatory, Allenheads

Astronomer and science educator Andy Gray explores how physics and chemistry created biology and how atoms that make up the human body are traceable back to the stars. Followed by stargazing (weather permitting).

Sun 28 Oct, 3 to 5pm, Durham Dales Centre, Stanhope

Gary Lintern, astronomer and astrophotographer, introduces highlights of the spring sky in the Southern Hemisphere, live from the Australian Outback. Using a feed from a remote observatory, observe and photograph a number of objects which are only visible at the other end of the Earth.

Sun 28 Oct, 6 to 8pm, Durham Dales Centre, Stanhope

Guided by Gary Lintern, Chair of the North Pennines Astronomy Society, see the highlights of the autumn sky in the North Pennines. Also includes some remote observing on the big screen, with a live feed from the mountains of SE Spain.

  • Searching for Life

Tues 30 Oct, 7 to 10pm, Langdon Beck Hotel, Upper Teesdale

Does ET really exist? Is there intelligent life out there and if so, how will we ever get in contact? Join astronomer Richard Darn on a colourful trip through the cosmos to find answers to this timeless conundrum. Followed by stargazing (weather permitting).

  • Tame Your Telescope

Tue 30 Oct, 7 to 9pm, North Pennines Observatory, Allenheads

Do you have a telescope that you do not really know how to use? ‘tame your telescope’ with Gary Lintern and Andy Gray, both experienced astonomers and astrophotographers.

  • Spooky Space

Wed 31 Oct, 7 to 10pm, High Forest Community Centre, Sinderhope

Joe Gordon, local astronomer, ventures into spooky space! Learn about the ancient sacred festivals of Halloween and find out where the Earth is in its orbit around the sun today and why that is important.

  • A Night with the Stars

Thur 1 Nov, 7pm, The Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland

An evening of stargazing for beginners with Joe Gordon at the Gatehouse. There will be hearty stew and a delicious pud to keep you warm, with the fire pits lit, cosy blankets and hot chocolate.

Thur 1 Nov, 6.30 to 8pm and 8.30 to 10pm, Bowlees Visitor Centre, Upper Teesdale

Join Gary Lintern to learn the basics of astrophotography and night time landscape photography.

  • Pop-up Planetarium at Allendale

Fri 2 Nov: 11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, Allendale Village Hall

Journey through the universe in a spectacular planetarium dome. An immersive 45-minute show, suitable for all ages, with lots of new films. Repeated every hour, on the hour.

  • Nenthead Mines Stargazing

Fri 2 Nov, 7 to 10pm, Nenthead Mines, Alston Moor

Starting with a talk from Andy Gray on ‘Why Space Travel is Hard’, exploring the science of travel, time and space. Then astronomers from Bishop Auckland Astronomical Society will be on hand with their telescopes for live stargazing (weather permitting).

  • Cloud Chamber Workshop

Sat 3 Nov, 2 to 4pm, North Pennines Observatory, Allenheads

Witness beautiful trails made by cosmic particles that pass through our world. Create your own mini-cloud chamber using dry ice and alcohol, then discuss how the chambers work and think about dark matter.

  • The Dark Side of the Universe

Sat 3 Nov, 7 to 10pm, North Pennines Observatory, Allenheads

Durham University lecturer Dr Peter Edwards sheds light on dark matter. Our universe is filled with mysterious dark matter, whose gravity provides the cosmic glue that holds it all together? Followed by stargazing (weather permitting).

  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Sun 4 Nov, 6 to 10pm, North Pennines Observatory, Allenheads

A screening of Steven Spielberg’s 1977 masterpiece, in association with Allenheads Contemporary Arts. This classic sci-fi film was digitally remastered in 2017 for its 40th birthday. Followed by stargazing (weather permitting).

Pop up Planetarium

Pre-booking essential for majority of festival events, to book your place on any of the above events click here.

To download the full festival programme click here.

Where to stay during the North Pennines Stargazing Festival...

Here is a list of accommodation in the Durham Dales, or you could even enjoy a stargazing escape to one of our certified dark sky friendly hotels.

Related

0 Comments

Comments

Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply