Ian Payne has been at the new Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, with a full report on what it means for locals, and the world's star gazers.
The Northumberland National Park is the most sparsely populated area of England.
Only two thousand people live here, that is five people per square mile.
The combined areas of the new Dark Sky Park covers the area between Hadrian's Wall and the Scottish border.
The quality of the new park depends on the planning, as Gregg Easteal reports.
An area of Northumberland has been recognised as one of the best places in the world for stargazing.
It is the biggest Dark Sky region in Europe.
Lucy Taylor reports.
Within the Dark Sky Park there are Dark Sky Discovery sites. They have been chosen because of their closeness to facilities such as toilets and hostels. If you just want to go out and stargaze, here is a list of the best places to go:
- Walltown Country Park
- Greenhaugh Village
- Byrness Village
- Elf Kirk View Point
- Alwinton Car Park
- Ingram in the Breamish Valley
- Wooler Common, Wooler
Annie Hutchinson, Chair of Wark Parish Council, has been part of the steering group involved in pushing forward with Northumberland's Dark Sky bid. She says the status will greatly benefit the area.
Campsite owners are thrilled about Northumberland's Dark Sky status because the time that is best for stargazing is currently the time they experience low tourism. Stephen Dunwell says that the night sky is so clear that he can see his shadow from the moon.
Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal for England, said:
"I'd like to offer warm support to this development. It is a further boost for Kielder Observatory and stargazing throughout Northumberland National Park. But, more than that, it should have the support of a far wider community than astronomers. The dark night sky is the most universal feature of our environment. All humans, everywhere in the world and throughout history, have looked up at the sky and wondered at it.
– Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal for England
"This experience is now denied to most people, because of the background light in towns and cities. It is important to ensure that there will be somewhere in England where young people can fully enjoy a cosmic panorama."
Elisabeth Rowark, Chair of the Northumberland Dark Skies Working Group and Director of the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, said:
– Elisabeth Rowark, Chair of the Northumberland Dark Skies Working Group and Director of the Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust,
"We have worked so hard together to reach this tremendous day for everyone committed to securing protection for England's largest area of starry skies. We have a wonderful story to tell in terms of our public astronomy outreach and the success of the Kielder Observatory. But this designation as Europe's largest Dark Sky Park will be a springboard allowing us to do even more. We do not want to turn off the lights, but rather encourage better lighting using the latest technology. This is the start of a new chapter for Northumberland where quite literally the sky is the limit."