Exmoor Dark Skies Festival: 14 Oct – 3 Nov

Exmoor National Park is home to some of the darkest skies in the country so it’s a great place to gaze at the stars.

For thousands of years, humans have looked up at the night sky and wondered at what they saw. This wonder helped to define our sense of who we are, our myths and legends, our religious beliefs and a sense of our place in a wider cosmos.  But the dark skies that were the night time backdrop for the vast majority of human history are for many of us now a rare sight. Our night times are filled with the orange glow of street lighting and we are all more likely to be looking at a television or a smartphone than gazing at the stars.

So why not take the time on Exmoor to look up and rediscover your sense of wonder? Good spots are Holdstone Hill, County Gate, Brendon Two Gates, Webbers Post, Anstey Gate, Haddon Hill and Wimbleball Lake. On a clear night the night sky of Exmoor is simply stunning when many astronomical sights can be seen through the naked eye and even more can be discovered through a telescope or binoculars.

To help you get the most from Exmoor’s dark skies we have produced a new Dark Skies Pocket Guide – download it  here or pick up a copy from one of our National Park Centres where you can also hire a telescope ! –  you can see one of the telescopes and and how to use them in this short video.

Here is the link to the full programme.

Good weather for stargazing? Check out the Exmoor Weather forecast from the Met Office here

Night Sky

 

Wimbleball Lake 3.30am on 1 May 2016.  Moon just starting to rise bottom left, Mars, Saturn and Antares to the right of the Milky Way. Photo by Paul Howell.

Wimbleball Lake 3.30am on 1 May 2016.
Moon just starting to rise bottom left, Mars, Saturn and Antares to the right of the Milky Way.
Photo by Paul Howell.

Wimbleball  Lake. 3 May 2016. Photo by Paul Howell.

Wimbleball Lake. 3 May 2016.
Photo by Paul Howell.

Shooting star over the Milky Way, Mars and Saturn. Photo by John Spurr.

Shooting star over the Milky Way, Mars and Saturn.
Photo by John Spurr.

Moonset from Exmoor.  April 2016. Photo by John Spurr.

Moonset from Exmoor.
April 2016.
Photo by John Spurr.