Northumberland Park is looking for astronomers!
With a resident population density of approximately two people per square mile, it’s perhaps not surprising that Northumberland National Park has some of the darkest skies in the region. The opportunities for star gazing are infinite and at this latitude, even the Aurora (Northern Lights) can be seen on those rare occasions of intense solar activity. Many people consider dark skies as contributory factor to the area’s sense of tranquility; however, 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 though Northumberland is still considered the darkest County in the UK, its percentage of area with truly dark skies decreased by 28% and its average night time brightness rose a whopping 1,000% between 1993 and 2000. And this trend is unfortunately still on the increase!
Following recent, successful conversations with the Kielder Observatory and other Astronomical Societies, we are considering whether to secure Dark Sky Reserve status for Northumberland National Park, to complement Kielder Water and Forest Park’s bid to secure Dark Sky Park status.
The application to achieving either status requires a high degree of commitment from the main organisations overseeing and financing the process, but more importantly, it is the roles of volunteers that will be critical to making this happen, particularly those with specific skills/experience. We would like to know if there are any volunteers out there who may have the following skills, and would like to have their names put forward for being involved in this project.
· Project management
· Experience of project funding bids
· Data collection
· An interest/passion in astronomy/dark skies
We are still at a very early stage of this project, but I will be more than happy to talk to anyone about this exciting venture. Do not hesitate to contact Duncan Wise from Northumberland Nartional Park Authority) by phone on 01434 611521.
Source: Northumberland National Park info; NNP logo from