Northumberland Dark Skies Festival comes to a close

The internationally recognised dark skies of Northumberland have been celebrated with an online festival which ends on Sunday (February 21).

The Kielder Observatory is a dark sky discovery site. Credit: Dan Monk, Kielder Observatory

The Kielder Observatory has been closed to the public during lockdown, but the event has tried to bring the magic of stargazing online through a range of talks and workshops hosted by astronomers, dark skies enthusiasts and international speakers.

It's extremely frustrating for us because our job is to stand under the stars, underneath the dark skies of Kielder, and basically enthuse people to look up at the night sky. So we've now got to try and transfer that to online, and we have to try and bring the magic of the Kielder dark skies to the internet.

Dan Monk, Senior Astronomer, Kielder Observatory

It has been supported by the Northumberland National Park, which sees protecting the area's International Dark Sky status as being just as important as protecting its landscape and heritage.

We do have the most pristine dark skies in England, here in Northumberland, and we're trying to do everything we can to make sure they stay that way. So that people can come to Northumberland in future generations, to come and enjoy something that is beginning to disappear. Because we're seeing the encroachments of light pollution coming in from towns and cities.

Duncan Wise, Northumberland National Park