Dark Skies Festival 2022 Programme Announced
The programme of events for this year’s Exmoor Dark Skies Festival (13-30 October 2022) has been released online at www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/stargazing.
Sponsored by Somerset Business Agency CIC, the festival is on track to be the biggest yet with well over fifty events already planned. This includes the popular planetarium sessions, set to return after a two-year break.
Sophie Tyler, Learning and Engagement Officer at Exmoor National Park Authority (NPA), said: “We’re so glad to be able to bring the planetarium back to Exmoor. A session inside the huge inflatable dome gives a 360-degree immersive space experience that can be appreciated by all ages. It’s especially amazing to see how it captures the imagination of children and inspires them to think about the universe.”
Katrina Munro, who coordinates the festival, said: “Exmoor is an International Dark Sky Reserve and during the festival we aim to celebrate everything that’s special about a night under a truly dark sky. As well as inspiring people to learn more about light pollution, the universe and our place in space, there’s the excitement of the great outdoors under a star-filled sky and the sense of wellbeing and tranquillity that can only fully be experienced in places like Exmoor, with exceptionally low light pollution.
“We have everything from guided evening walks with National Park Rangers and astronomy experts, to stargazing suppers where you can marvel at planets, constellations and meteor showers while dining in style. Many of our events are family friendly with experiences aimed at beginners as well as experts and for wildlife-lovers as well as astronomers.”
The Poltimore Inn at North Molton, on the southern edge of the National Park, is one of a growing number of Dark Sky Friendly businesses who have all received specialist training to be able to offer guests the ultimate dark skies experience. The Inn, which is hosting events throughout the festival, boasts an observatory with an amazing retractable roof and numerous telescopes and binoculars with which to admire the starlit view.
Another experience unique to Exmoor is the ‘Dark Sky Discovery Trail’ – complete with glow-in-the-dark waymarkers. Walkers can enjoy a gentle 2-mile walk into one of the darkest places in the National Park to experience 360-degree views of the night sky out over open moorland. The walk can either be self-guided or you can join National Park staff during the festival for a tour.
Patricia Marks, Director of Somerset Business Agency CIC, said: “SBA CIC is delighted to be the 2022 sponsor of the Dark Skies Festival. Exmoor is a very special place, and we want everyone to know it!”
SBA CIC and telescope manufacturer Celestron have donated prizes for this year’s festival competition. People can enter by writing poems inspired by Exmoor’s dark skies, with categories for adults as well as children and the top prize a Celestron telescope.
To enter the competition, browse the full Festival programme and find Dark Sky Friendly accredited places to stay, plus information on telescope hire and stargazing, visit www.exmor-nationalpark.gov.uk/stargazing.
Image credit: Galactic core over Alderman's Barrow Allotment, Exmoor National Park Dark Sky Reserve, © Shaun Davey, shaundavey.co.uk
Published: 13 June 2022
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