For anyone who’s ever wanted to wish upon a shooting star there’s no better time – October and November sees a series of successive meteor showers taking place, and Battlesteads Observatory in Wark, near Hexham, is offering an unmissable chance to see them.
Three Shooting Star Suppers will take place on Saturday 21 October, Saturday 4 November and Friday 17 November, when the Orionids, Taurids and Leonids meteor showers are at their respective peaks.
Starting at 9pm, the Shooting Star Suppers are suitable for all ages and begin with a light supper of sandwiches and soup in the Battlesteads Restaurant before heading to the observatory – a Designated Dark Sky Discovery Site – for a tour and talk.
Battlesteads’ expert astronomy team, led by Roy Alexander, will be on hand to explain the origins of shooting stars, meteors, comets, asteroids, and will teach you how to collect micrometeorites in your own back garden.
Then guests will settle down to watch the celestial fireworks shows, which typically peak after midnight. For any guests who would like to learn more about how to capture shooting stars with a DSLR camera, the Battlesteads team will be on hand to give you some top tips.
Saturday 21 October sees the Orionids meteor shower at its peak. Producing up to 20 meteors per hour radiating from the constellation Orion, the Orionids is produced by dust grains left behind by Halley's comet Halley, observed since ancient times.
The Taurids meteor shower, which can be seen at the Shooting Star Supper on Saturday 4 November, is quieter than the Orionids but is known for producing spectacular fireballs, and consists of two separate streams of space dust.
Last in the series of meteor showers, the Leonids produces up to 15 meteors per hour, which come from dust grains left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle. Coinciding with the yearly new moon, the skies will be at their darkest to create the perfect viewing conditions.
Shooting Star Suppers at Battlesteads Observatory start from £25pp with concessions available. Overnight stays at Battlesteads Hotel can be added from £50pp on a bed & breakfast basis.
For more information about Battlesteads Hotel, Restaurant & Observatory, visit www.battlesteads.com or call 01434 230 039.
Image caption: A shooting star captured by Cain Scrimgeour.