Kielder Observatory, Britain’s leading dark-sky public observatory, is taking its message to the world’s biggest telescopes, holding unique, live global broadcasts and making a documentary film in the process.
This month Gary Fildes, founder and director of the observatory will begin a journey through the desert of Chile in a bid to unveil the hidden mysteries of some of the darkest skies in the world.
He will visit the world’s largest array of telescopes, visiting among others the European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes and hosting live webcasts with astronomers, both to guests at special events in Kielder and to a worldwide audience via Twitter and Ustream.
Starting in Santiago and travelling close to the Bolivian border, the trip will include daily, live broadcasts, including features from the world’s most advanced ground-based telescope (the ESO’s Very Large Telecope, the VLT) and the world’s largest, most sensitive radio telescope.
Gary will be fulfilling his childhood dream to see the centre of the Milky Way directly overhead.
His plan has caught the attention of documentary filmmakers who will accompany him to record his journey.
Gary said: “Telescopes like the VLT count among one of our greatest scientific and engineering achievements. To be there, and have unique access to the technology and the astronomers is amazing. The chance to visit ALMA, mankind’s largest ever astronomical project and to able to share this directly with the public at Kielder Observatory and a global web audience is unprecedented. It’s a real opportunity for anyone interested in our place in the Universe.
“Kielder Observatory was only opened five years ago and we have seen over 40,000 visitors. It’s been an incredible success.”