We have just a few non-hooks up remaining for the 11th Kielder Forest Star Camp, Northumberland, 30 October - 4 November, 2013.
Star camp takes place under probably the darkest sky in England (nearby Kielder Observatory records an average 21.7 light meter readings). If you want to come along - two night minimum booking - please drop Lynn Henderson a line asap - firstname.lastname@example.org
Campsite has toilets, showers, launderette, warm room etc.
Main day on Saturday 2 November is FREE to everyone. Venue is Kielder Castle at the western end of Kielder Water. You are also welcome to come down to the observing field at any time providing you keep within our red light rules. No day charges are applied. There'll be talks on astrophotography in Namibia, Comet Ison, a top five "wow" object list and eclipse chasing. Confirmed vendors include Ian King Imaging, Astronomica, Astrodevelopments and Grovers. Open 11am - 4.30pm. Meals, refreshments, good local beer are all on offer.
We'll also provide an update on the Northumberland Dark Sky plan.
Starcamp organisers have been working with other partners to have nearly 1500 square kilometers of Northumberland designated as England's first Dark Sky Park. The bid document has been lodged with the International Dark Skies Association. A decision is expected before Christmas. If it is successful it would create the largest area of protected night sky in Europe. It would also slot another element into a jigsaw which could see a dark corridor created linking this dark sky park with the UK's first such development over at Galloway. Over 300 light meter readings have been taken and there has been wide public consultation. A Lighting Management Plan has been endorsed and some street lights already replaced (with LEDs - the one I saw was very effective in curtailing light spill). Other lighting mitigation work is set to take place.
Money raised by Starcamp is plouged back into the Kielder community, with a donation also being made to the outreach work at Kielder Observatory.
For the record - ground conditions on the campsite have been good so far this year :0)
Pix: Jason Underwood