The first Northumberland Coast AONB stargazing event of the 2014-15 dark sky season will be on Wednesday 22nd October at the St Mary’s Church, Newton by the Sea. The event has been organised by the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership with Northumberland Astronomical Society (NASTRO) and with assistance from the Tin Church Community Project

The event is a fabulous opportunity to for STARGAZERS to observe the night sky at the beautiful Little Tin Church in Low Newton by the Sea with expert guidance and assistance from NASTRO.

The event will run from 8.00pm to 10.00pm, it will feature an indoor guided tour of the Solar System, a Laser guided tour of the night sky, a series of other short talks and, weather permitting, be followed by an opportunity to observe the stars using a variety of telescopes.

The evening is free but booking is essential as spaces are limited - please telephone 01670 622648 or email [email protected] to book places. Refreshments will be available and the event is suitable for all but strictly no dogs allowed. Please bring suitable warm clothing and a torch.

This event is the first in a series of stargazing events that will be held along the Northumberland Coast over the coming months.

The events are part of the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership’s objective to raise awareness of the importance of the area’s dark skies. The overall purpose of the AONB is to conserve and enhance its wonderful natural and cultural heritage. The night sky has been recognised as an important element of the experience of that heritage. Increasing light pollution, even in rural Northumberland, jeopardises the dark sky quality. The exceptional quality of the dark skies in Northumberland was recently recognised with the awarding of 'Gold Tier Status' Dark Sky Reserve.

“Dark skies are incredibly precious” said Jessica Turner of the AONB Partnership, “The opportunity to experience the wonder of the stunning dark skies is available to all in and around the AONB. The AONB Partnership is keen to raise awareness of the night sky, and the importance of reducing light pollution. It is hoped that this series of events will highlight the treasure that is above us and go some way to ensuring its long term protection".

Binoculars and telescopes will be available, but participants are invited to bring own. The experts from NASTRO will on hand to provide advice and are able to cater for all levels of expertise and knowledge. Ian Glendinning from NASTRO said “NASTRO aims to promote astronomy and science education in the community and has an active outreach programme. We are really looking forward to these events along the coast, meeting new stargazers and conversing with experienced astronomers alike.”

For further information please contact Jessica Turner on 01670 622648 or email - [email protected]

Photograph: NASTRO setting up telescopes for AONB Stargazing. Credit: Ian Glendinning