With a resident population of less than 2000, living in 1000 km2 of open countryside , it is perhaps not surprising that Northumberland National Park has some of the darkest skies in England. At this latitude, even the Aurora (Northern Lights) can be seen on those rare occasions of intense solar activity.
On Hadrian’s Wall, Cawfields Car Park is now recognised officially as a Dark Sky Discovery Site. At that place Northumberland National Park with Newcastle Astronomical Society and Herding Hill Farm will host a number of star gazing events throughout the autumn and winter, starting with a ‘Star gazing for Beginners’ event on the 20th October 2012.
To book a free place, visit: http://www.stargazing-20october.eventbrite.co.uk. For more information about dark skies and the work of the Authority to conserve them, please contact Duncan Wise on 01434 611521 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. View the poster for the event here.
Many people believe our dark skies contribute to the County’s sense of tranquillity, but it is a special quality that cannot be taken for granted. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has published Light Blight maps for the last 20 years, and light pollution from street and outside lighting is beginning to penetrate even the darkest corners of the Park.
The very best places to see truly dark skies are in the more northern areas such as the North Tyne Valley, Redesdale, Coquetdale and the Cheviots.