New telescopes allow socially distanced star-gazing to resume at Northumberland pub

Exploring the wonders of the night sky is back on the menu at a Northumberland pub, with a new programme of stargazing evenings

Tuesday, 6th October 2020, 4:45 pm

Since last autumn, The Twice Brewed Inn, situated on one of the most dramatic stretches of Hadrian’s Wall, has been making the very most of its Dark Sky Park location by teaming up with astronomer Wil Cheung to deliver a series of inspiring and exciting events designed to bring the magic of the starry night skies a little closer.

Now many more will be able to soak up the night-sky sights thanks to the delivery of new telescopes, which allow social distanced observing to take place.

Wil, a former volunteer at Kielder Observatory and ambassador for UK Astronomy, said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring people back to The Twice Brewed for these special events, which have proved so popular.

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Star-gazing events are being held at Twice Brewed Inn, near Haydon Bridge.

“We feel very fortunate to be able to make use of the huge space at the back of the pub, which enables everyone to spread out – and now we have the new telescopes, it means every group has their own equipment to use for the whole evening, so social distancing is easy to achieve.

“In addition, we’re currently not using the observatory during the events to keep all the observing outside in the fresh air.”

During a stargazing evening, groups of six or less – currently limited to groups from the same household in line with current coronavirus restrictions in Northumberland – are taken on an amazing journey via what they can see through the telescope.

Wil explained: “Every group has their own assigned astronomer and then using the main speaker, I stand at the bottom of the hill and guide everyone to the bit of the sky I’m talking about, using a powerful laser pen.

Astronomer Will Cheung.

“Depending on their experience or thirst to learn, people can try exploring the universe for themselves or simply enjoy looking at what their designated astronomer has found for them.

“People still need to find things to enjoy in their lives and I may be biased, but I think you’d struggle to find anything better than stargazing when it comes to lifting the soul and the spirit.”

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New telescopes allow socially distanced star-gazing to take place.

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A star-gazing event at Twice Brewed.
The night sky over Twice Brewed.