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Kielder Observatory – School’s out for starstruck students

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  January 25, 2012 | 0 Comments
Sam Clark touching the planets at Kielder Observatory

Sam Clark touching the planets at Kielder Observatory

Parents can thank their lucky stars for one of Northumberland’s top visitor attractions has developed a cure for half-term boredom that’s out of this world.

By popular demand, Kielder Observatory in Kielder Water & Forest Park will host a series of star gazing events specifically aimed at space obsessed youngsters with an interest in the night sky.

The award winning facility hosts a year round programme of astronomy events. But to get the best of the darkest night skies in England, the events usually take place from 8pm till late.

During school holidays, including the February half term between 10-17, there will be additional events aimed at families that start from 5pm.

Gary Fildes, from Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS), said: “We’ve been overwhelmed with demand and we’re often asked to open the doors earlier to enable families with young kids to get home in time to get the little ones to bed.”

Ian Cuthbertson from Sunderland and his children, Cameron, seven, and Faye, three , attended a Junior Aurora Night. Ian said: “The event was brilliant. It’s an amazing facility and a great place to spend time as a family. It’s just a really fun way for them to learn some cool stuff – the expert team have bags of knowledge and enthusiasm and fired up the kids’ passion for star gazing.”

Cameron, dad Ian and Faye Cuthbertson star gazing at Kielder Observatory

Cameron, dad Ian and Faye Cuthbertson star gazing at Kielder Observatory

Visitors will be able to use the powerful telescopes to look at deep sky objects such as galaxies that lay millions of light years distant. During the half term events there will be an exceptional chance to see five planets in one night.

Gary added: “It’s a very rare event but we will hopefully get the opportunity to observe five visible planets starting with Venus in the west, then to Uranus, Jupiter then Mars, finishing off late with Saturn.”

The events include a talk from an expert astronomer, a tour of the facility and use of the telescopes.

All events must be pre-booked by visiting www.kielderobservatory.org and clicking on the event calendar. For enquiries telephone 07805 638 469.

Half term events

  • February 10, Family Astronomy, 5pm

Cost: adults £9, concessions £7, family £25

  • February 13, Half-term Astronomy, 7pm

Cost: adults £9, concessions £7, family £25

  • February 15, Family Astronomy, 7pm

Cost: adults £9, concessions £7, family £25

  • February 17, Family Astronomy, 5pm

Cost: adults £9, concessions £7, family £25

  • February 17, Planet Night, 7pm

Cost: adults £10, concessions £8, family £27

Kielder Water & Forest Park, which spans 250 square miles, is home to the largest forest in England and the largest man-made lake in northern Europe. It was voted the most tranquil place in England by the Campaign to Protect Rural England. For more information go to www.visitkielder.com.

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