The Battlesteads Dark Sky Observatory, is an accessible, public astronomical observatory offering talks, activities, drop in sessions, stargazing and Astro courses to suit anyone from the absolute beginner to the professional.
Located at a Dark Sky Discovery Site in Wark and under very dark skies, the observatory offers the perfect compromise between the beautiful majesty of dark skies and the facilities offered by a 21st Century Countryside Village location:
- Luxury Astro Accommodation just metres away.
- Superb meals and snacks available, specialising in sustainable, locally sourced food.
- Free hot drinks and water available in the observatory Warm Room.
- Full mains electricity and wifi internet for all your Astro Equipment and Devices (laptops,tablets, smartphones).
- The road is open whatever the weather – even in midwinter snow, and we have plumbing!
|Battlesteads Dark Sky Observatory is a venue for ...|
|Battlesteads Dark Sky Observatory, Hexham(Group Attraction)|
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Restaurant / Cafe on site
Booked through Voyage Privé
See review of Battlesteads for the main assessment of the stay but the deal included this opportunity to spend time with an astronomer and the kit they have. If you’re reading this I suspect you already know that Northumberland has virtually no light pollution - Dark Sky - so even in May with the naked eye, but better with the 12*70 binoculars you can borrow and unbelievably well with the 60x telescope they have mounted on a computer guided thingy there’s a lot of twinkling things out there. And planets - quite used to seeing Venus, but Jupiter along with 3 moons and it’s bands and storm spot was a revelation. Martin the astronomer was all over our questions and happily pointing out stuff with a laser pointer and steering the telescope from a binary pair of stars, to Hercules’ globular cluster, to a basket or something - my head span! His enthusiasm was infectious and if I’d dressed more appropriately I could have stayed longer than the 2 hours allotted. We held on to the end to see an iridium flare - when a satellite tilts its solar panels to reflect the sun from under the horizon - the satellite arrived absolutely on time and where Martin said it would be but the expected flare may have been lost in some cloud. Certainly worth joining in
Interesting and Informative session
John E, Biggar, United Kingdom
This was billed as a presentation on the Aurora but it was much more than that. The general introduction to stars and planets watching was very informative and presented in an easy to understand way. The use of various everyday objects to illustrate the relative sizes and distances worked really well. It was a shame that our evening was intermittent cloud but we did see the moon through the main telescope for a short time. I imagine it would be even more interesting if you were there on a clear night. It's something I would do again if we are back in this area and I would consider the course on astro photography. Clear skies would be great.
heather h, Northallerton, United Kingdom
I personally found the visit rather long and not particularly interesting. Several people left at the first opportunity.The experience is totally dependant on the weather but on a cold and cloudy night we were unable to see anything. I'm sure the experience would be much better on a clear night but that's just pot luck.
For a long time I have wanted to do star gazing and it really didn’t disappoint. Chris was knowledgeable and it was a clear night so we got to see so much. There was so much information I want to do it again so I can take it all in. Looking through the telescope was facinating, especially looking st the moon in such close detail. It was very cold so I would recommend wrapping up well. Hot drinks were available and much needed. Only one criticism, is that the rear telescopes weren’t set up and when we asked the people manning them what we should look for, we were met with,’ I don’t know.’
A superb experience for newcomers and veteran stargazers alike.
thesidsmith, Whitley Bay, United Kingdom
Just back from a wonderful evening at the observatory. I can’t thank the staff Chris and Martin enough for the way they carefully explained what we were seeing in the night sky. Their enthusiasm and knowledge were key to getting the most out of the evening. The fact that it coincided with a remarkably clear evening was the icing on the cake. Being able to look at various stars and formations through the large telescope just added to the sense of wonder at the constellations above us. They also provided the powerful binoculars which again enhanced what we were able to see with the naked eye. It’s hard to think how things could have been improved upon. Suffice to say I came away awed and enthused by what we had seen. Superb service from start to finish. I can’t recommend it enough and will be back in the summer.