The sky at night comes into sharp focus

Star trails over Kielder. Picture: Mike Dickson.
Star trails over Kielder. Picture: Mike Dickson.
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TO STAND and look up for a glimpse of the night skies is a natural wonder that has captured the imagination of many over the years and now moves are afoot to create Europe’s largest area of protected night sky.

A bid to designate nearly 1500 square kilometres of Northumberland as England’s first Dark Sky Park is being considered by the International Dark Skies Association (IDA) based in Tucson, USA. The drive to protect the night skies is something that could soon come to parts of Yorkshire.

Yesterday a spokeswoman for the North York Moors Park Authority said it remained interested in a bid to protect its skies and was in the early stages of working with partners on the plan.

A decision on whether to protect skies above Northumberland is expected before Christmas.

Kielder Water & Forest Park Development Trust, Northumberland National Park Authority and Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society have been working on the plan for two years.

Gary Fildes, founder director and lead astronomer at the Kielder Observatory, said: “Winning Dark Sky park status will only serve to enhance the visitor experience and ensure that we maintain the dark skies for future generations to look out into the universe and wonder about our place in it.”