Special star session to see meteor shower

Kielder Observatory.
Kielder Observatory.

Night owls are being urged to look to the skies to see spectacular shooting stars burn up over Northumberland.

Starmaker astro-guides are staging a special event to mark the Leonid meteor shower at Clennell Hall, Alwinton, on Friday, November 14, from 7.30pm.

The cosmic session is perfect for novices and has been staged to take advantage of the skies above the Hall, which is in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park,incorporating the Northumberland National Park and the majority of Kielder Water and Forest Park.

Organiser Rob Ince said: “Shooting stars look fabulous and in the case of the Leonids are caused by tiny grains of dust left behind by a comet called Tempel-Tuttle.

“We’ll also be searching for other celestial wonders like star clusters and colourful double stars.”

Robert is the lead astronomer, part of a wider group of amateur astronomers known as the Starmakers, recruited and trained as part of a project run for the Animating Dark Skies Partnership, which is made up of the Northumberland National Park, Kielder and North Pennines AONB.

By the year’s end, the Starmaker initiative will have staged more than 40 events.

Rob believes it is expanding the offer to stargazing fans and says there has been a positive knock-on effect since the Northumberland National Park and Kielder were given Gold Tier Dark Sky Park status last year.

He said: “The impact has been quite huge and it is increasing the tourism offer outside the summer months.

“The take up for the Starmaker events has been very good. We wanted 600 visitors for the 40 or so public events by the year’s end and we are on course to exceed this.”

Next Friday’s Alwinton event includes a colourful talk featuring magnificent pictures and videos taken from the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park.

Tickets are £7.50 for adults, £5 children. Bookings can be made online. The event will go ahead in all weather conditions.