These events promise to be spectacular evenings of celebration and socially distanced astronomy.
On arrival, your health and safety is our primary concern, and we have a comprehensive system in place to ensure that you have a wonderful, and safe, time with us. We have also specifically reduced attendee numbers, to assist us in our efforts to keep you safe.
The event will begin with a personal welcome from our astronomer, Gary Fildes. Gary is a very experienced science communicator and astronomer, and founder of the Kielder Observatory, where he was Director and CEO for over 11 years.
After the welcome, Gary and the team will escort you into our new state of the art classroom, which has a cosy feel, and high definition (HD) projection system. Gary will take you on a whistle stop tour of the Universe. Following this, we will split into groups and, weather depending, start observing the sky, with our array of telescopes and cameras.
Ever since the first humans ventured to the polar regions and settled in the frozen lands, folklore and fairy tales have echoed the icy star filled skies. These civilisations nurtured an understanding of wildlife and the natural world around them, especially when night fell, for this was the time that the spirits flew into the skies and adorned the heavens, with shimmering greens, reds and violet hues. Stories of valour, and of pathways to heaven, filled the wondering minds of the young, as they stared with widening eyes at the Aurora Borealis.
Nowadays, we have a scientific understanding of the Northern Lights, the mechanics of our sun that drives the weather in space, and also produces the energy that we see as the dancing beauty of the Aurora.
Tonight from the dark skies of County Durham, we will explore the phenomena and folklore behind the stories and, in doing so, unlock our ability to dream and wonder about its origins.
What causes the colours we see? Why do we see them only in the North and South poles? What can we teach you tonight, so that you can spot the elusive lights for yourselves?
A fun filled night, with stunning graphics handouts, experiments and stargazing, with our advanced array of instruments. Expert tuition from Gary and his team of astronomers, as we take you on a journey of the heart and soul.
On certain nights throughout the year, we may even see the Aurora Borealis from Grassholme. It’s visible in these skies, but the conditions have to be right to see them and those conditions can be very rare indeed. Whilst we cannot guarantee you will see them, and to be honest, you probably won’t, we can guarantee that you will leave well equipped on how you can spot them in future, and what exactly they are.
On summer evening, from June to early August onwards, we may even glimpse other atmospheric phenomena, such as noctilucent or night shining clouds. During this time of year, our northerly latitude prohibits the true dark skies, as a twilight gives the sky a beautiful hue.