Exmoor National Park – an International Dark Sky Reserve – is teaming up with local businesses for Back Garden Astronomy Week (2-10 February), BBC Sky at Night Magazine’s new campaign designed to inspire the nation to discover the wonders of stargazing.
People are invited to sign up in advance at www.skyatnightmagazine.com/backgarden to receive a free 50-page digital starter pack and newsletter, showing them how to find some of the most alluring objects in the night sky, all visible from the back garden with just a pair of binoculars.
Followers of Exmoor National Park on Facebook or Twitter (@ExmoorNP), or readers of their dark skies newsletter (sign up at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/stargazing), could also be in with a chance of winning some great prizes over the course of the week. Wild About Exmoor will be giving away a star-studded guided night walk for up to six people up Dunkery Beacon – the highest point on Exmoor. Those wishing to explore the night sky a little deeper and further during their next stay on Exmoor could win a week’s free hire of an amazing 6-inch Skywatcher Dobsonian telescope from Dark Sky Telescope Hire.
Chris Bramley, Editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine, said: “We’re really excited about this new opportunity to celebrate some of the best sights the night sky has to offer and to help make astronomy more accessible to a wider audience. It’s great that some fantastic partners have joined us in the project, including Exmoor National Park, who have some great giveaways lined up for us.”
Exmoor National Park was designated as Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in 2011, in recognition of the darkness of the sky and work to limit light pollution. The dark skies are valued and protected by the Exmoor National Park Authority, who also run the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival, taking place from 14 October to 3 November 2019.
Katrina Munro, who coordinates the Festival, said: “People have long visited Exmoor by day for its incredible landscapes and tranquillity, and now more and more are discovering the many wonders of its night skies. We hope that, through this initiative, more budding astronomers will be inspired to come and discover what makes Exmoor so very special for stargazing.”
Look out for a four-page feature on astrophotography in the new issue of Exmoor Magazine, out imminently!
PHOTO: Paul Howell Pictor Images