Author Archives: Go Stargazing Administrator

The inaugural North Pennines Stargazing Festival takes place from 21st October 2017 through to 30th October 2017 in celebration of the wonderful dark starry skies that can be seen across the region.

The festival includes numerous events many of which involve getting out in the darkness and exploring the night skies above.  Timed to coincide with the October half-term there’s plenty of things for families to do with everything from activities for children to advanced astrophotography courses for adults. Download the official festival programme.

As the festival takes place during a new-moon period the skies will be stunningly dark with thousands more stars to be seen when compared to what can be seen from our towns and cities.

Also the annual Orionids Meteor shower takes place from 2nd October through to 7th November with the peak activity expected in the early hours of 21st October — keep your eye out for shooting stars throughout the festival period!

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a hidden gem when it comes to stargazing and this festival is a great opportunity to explore the area, both on the ground and up above!

Clear skies!

Astrophotography Workshop at Killhope Museum

Killhope Lead Mining Museum, Bishop Auckland, DL13 1AR

Learn to photograph the night sky from one of the darkest locations in the North Pennines at Killhope Museum. This highly practical three-hour introduction to photographing the night sky is being led by Gary Lintern and his expert team. Prior...

Saturday 21st October 2017 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

Tour of the Solar System & Stargazing

Bowlees Visitor Centre, Middleton-in-Teesdale, DL12 0XF

Join amateur astronomer Andy Gray for this magical mystery tour of the solar system!  Ideal for families and beginners the event will include stargazing if weather permits. This event is part of the North Pennines Stargazing Festival 2017,...

Saturday 21st October 2017 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

Pop-up Planetarium - Allendale

Allendale Village Hall, Allendale Town, NE47 9PR

Visit Allendale Village Hall for an immersive journey through the universe in our spectacular planetarium dome. The show is suitable for all ages, lasts for approximately 45 minutes, and takes place every hour, on the hour (11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm...

Monday 23rd October 2017 from 10:45am to 15:45pm

Tour of the Constellations - their myths and legends

Harehope Quarry Project, Bishop Auckland, DL13 2SG

Discover the beauty of the Dark Skies of the North Pennines with experienced local astronomer Bruce Ferguson. We’ll start with an introductory indoor session. Afterwards, weather permitting, we’ll go out and using the naked eye, binoculars and a...

Tuesday 24th October 2017 from 18:00pm to 20:00pm

Pop-up Planetarium - Alston

Alston Town Hall, Alston, CA9 3RF

Visit Alston Town Hall for an immersive journey through the universe in our spectacular planetarium dome. The show is suitable for all ages, lasts for approximately 45 minutes, and takes place every hour, on the hour (11am, 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and...

Wednesday 25th October 2017 from 10:45am to 15:45pm

Stargazing and Astrophotography for Beginners

South Tynedale Railway Station, Alston, CA9 3JB

Join experienced astronomer and astrophotographer Martin Kitching from Northern Experience Wildlife Tours for an in-depth introduction to stargazing and capturing the night sky. We’ll also do some stargazing too – weather permitting.  Booking...

Wednesday 25th October 2017 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

Skywatch at Killhope Museum

Killhope Lead Mining Museum, Bishop Auckland, DL13 1AR

Enjoy some of the darkest skies in the North Pennines at Killhope Lead Mining Museum. Experienced astronomers (from the North Pennines Astronomy Society and Sunderland Astronomical Society) will be on hand to show you around the night sky using a...

Thursday 26th October 2017 from 18:30pm to 21:30pm

Pop-up Planetarium - Stanhope

St Thomas' Church Hall - Stanhope, Stanhope, DL13 2UE

Visit St Thomas’ Church Hall in Stanhope for an immersive journey through the universe in our spectacular planetarium dome. The show is suitable for all ages, lasts for approximately 45 minutes, and takes place every hour, on the hour (11am,...

Friday 27th October 2017 from 10:45am to 15:45pm

Real Astronomy at Langdon Beck

Langdon Beck Hotel - Teesdale, Forest-in-Teesdale, DL12 0XP

Experienced astronomer Richard Darn will introduce you to the delights of stargazing, unlocking some of the secrets of astronomy, including the best way to watch a meteor shower and predict the elusive Northern Lights. We’ll also do some...

Friday 27th October 2017 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

Build a Rocket Workshop

Bowlees Visitor Centre, Middleton-in-Teesdale, DL12 0XF

Design and build your very own bottle rocket in this space-themed craft workshop at Bowlees Visitor Centre and then experience the excitement of launching it!  3 sessions available throughout the day.  Small fee for children with adults going...

Saturday 28th October 2017 from 11:00am to 13:00pm

Eclipses Uncovered

North Pennines Observatory, Allenheads, NE47 9HR

Join amateur astronomer Andy Gray to discover what eclipses are all about. Andy will be showing footage and images from the 2017 solar eclipse. We’ll also do some stargazing at the North Pennines Observatory – weather permitting. Booking...

Sunday 29th October 2017 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

The annual Perseids meteor shower is possibly the most eagerly anticipated by astronomers. For several years now the Perseids have resulted in a great show with dozens of bright meteors being spotted per hour around the peak of their activity.

Each year as the Earth travels on its orbit around the Sun it encounters a vast swathe of cosmic dust left over by the comet Swift-Tuttle. As these tiny dust particles enter Earth’s atmosphere at great speed they burn up leaving a brief but bright trail — a shooting star!

Perseid meteors can be identified as they appear to radiate from the constellation of Perseus, hence their name. The shower takes place each year from July 14th through to August 24th with the peak in meteor numbers (the time when the Earth passes through the densest of the dust) on the evening of August 12th / morning of August 13th. The very best time to see them is the early hours of August 13th.


Unfortunately the 2017 shower will be a little spoiled by the moon which rises late evening — it’s moonlight drowning out any dark skies meaning only the brighter meteors will be seen. Even still it promises to be a good show presuming the weather is favourable!

For the best place to see the Perseids meteor shower the most important requirement is a wide open space where you can see as much of the sky as possible. This year there’s no advantage in travelling any great distance to a dark sky site as the moon will overcome any darkness. It’s still advantageous though to get away from light polluted areas even if only a few miles out of town.

If you’re interested in photography check this fantastic guide on how to photograph the Perseid meteors by expert astrophotographer Alyn Wallace.

Places to see the Perseid meteor shower

The map shows recommended stargazing locations including official dark sky sites.

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Perseid meteor shower public stargazing events

The following events are taking place during the peak period 11th August to 14th August.

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Perseid stargazing events

Solarsphere Astronomical & Music Festival 2017

Solarsphere Astronomy Festival @ Penmaenau Farm, Llanelwedd, LD2 3RD

Solarsphere brings together astronomy and music for a festival that can be enjoyed by everyone. There'll be plenty to keep children entertained with special workshops, astronomy related activities and arts. In addition talks will be given by...

Friday 11th August 2017 from 12:00pm to Monday 14th August 2017 12:00pm

Perseid Meteor Viewing with Northants Amateur Astronomers

Newton Field Centre, Geddington, NN14 1BW

The members of Northants Amateur Astronomers will be viewing the Perseid meteor shower from their observing location at Newton Field Centre. There'll be hot dogs and burgers too! Booking required in advance please contact the event organisers...

Friday 11th August 2017 from 19:00pm to 23:00pm

Bridgend Astronomical Society Meeting

Pyle Church Hall, Bridgend, CF33 6AE

Join members of Bridgend Astronomical Society for this one of their regular monthly meetings that take place on the second Friday of each month between September and June.  Event includes a talk or presentation on an astronomically themed topic and...

Friday 11th August 2017 from 19:30pm to 21:30pm

Perseids Meteor Shower 2017 - Dark Sky Wales

Brecon - Libanus Mountain Centre, Brecon, LD3 8ER

Join the Dark Sky Wales team for this astronomical summer spectacular! The annual Perseids meteor shower have been putting on a good show for several years now and this event is a great opportunity to spot them! Expert astronomers will be on hand...

Friday 11th August 2017 from 19:30pm to 22:30pm

Public Astronomy Evening - Perseid Meteor Shower 2017

University of Surrey, Guidlford, GU2 7XH

Join the Astrophysics Group for this special astronomy evening with a cutting edge lecture then, weather permitting, using the campus telescope.  This event is being organised by the University of Surrey with bookings taken via the Eventbrite...

Friday 11th August 2017 from 19:30pm to 21:30pm

Runcorn & Widnes Astronomers Meeting

Sandymoor Hall, Runcorn, WA7 1XU

Join the friendly members of Runcorn & Widnes Astronomers for their monthly meeting, to include a presentation and observing, observing! observing!! if weather permits. Visitors very welcome (small fee applies).

Friday 11th August 2017 from 19:30pm to 22:00pm

Herstmonceux Observatory - Perseids Meteor Shower 2017

The Observatory Science Centre, Hailsham, BN27 1RN

Join astronomers at the Herstmonceux Observatory for the annual peak of the Perseids meteor shower.

Friday 11th August 2017 from 20:00pm to Saturday 12th August 2017 00:30am

James Irwin Observatory Public Open Evening

James Irwin Observatory, Canterbury, CT2 8QA

Members of the public are invited to join Astronomers from Mid-Kent Astronomical Society for this one of their regular observatory open evenings. These events only take place if the weather permits observing. Attendees are asked to first meet in...

Friday 11th August 2017 from 20:00pm to 22:00pm

Perseids Meteor Watch at Wynyard

Wynyard Planetarium & Observatory, Stockton-on-Tees, TS21 3JG

The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks each year around the 12th August with possibly dozens of shooting stars to be seen each hour. With free stargazing events taking place on the evenings of 11th and 12th August this is a great opportunity to...

Friday 11th August 2017 from 20:00pm to 22:00pm

Social Stargazing with UK Astronomy - Stargazing for starters

Emberton Sports and Social Club, Emberton, MK45 5BS

Join members of the UK Astronomy Social Network for a stargazing session in Emberton near Milton Keynes. This particular event is suitable for absolute beginners - take your telescope along if you have one!

Friday 11th August 2017 from 20:00pm to 22:00pm

During the Summer months of June and July an exceptional and wonderful phenomenon can be seen in our night-time skies.

Noctilucent (Latin for night shining) clouds are formed of ice crystals high up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Their extreme altitude allows the Sun’s light to reflect off them at a specific angle causing them to appear illuminated. Only at this time of year, when the Sun sets low below the horizon in the Northern hemisphere, can these clouds be readily visible on clear summer nights appearing as ghostly whispers of light shimmering in the darkness of night.

As you can see from the amazing photograph the effects are simply stunning! The image was taken by Matt Robinson of Astro Matt Photography from Roker Beach during the early hours of a summer’s morning just prior to sunrise in 2015 and won him an award from Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

To see them you’ll need to be a night-owl as they are best viewed about half an hour after sunset through to half an hour before sunrise. Look towards the North and spot them towards the horizon, the further North you are the higher they should appear in the sky. Recently they have been spotted from as far South as the South coast of England!

For more images of noctilucent clouds check Google Images.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Spending time in the countryside is one of the last few free pleasures in life, you simply can’t beat wandering through the acres of forest that our beautiful countryside provides, perhaps wandering around sculpture trails or even just enjoying the local wildlife.

From early 2017 the Forestry Commission England, who runs most of England’s forest estate, is looking to encourage day visitors to stay on after normal hours by offering some night time options. They are opening up their forests for visitors to indulge in a spot of stargazing.


View of the Milky Way over Kielder Water Forest Park

In addition astronomy events are being held at forests across the country exploring the amazing world of stars and allowing everyone an after-dark adventure. We’ve listed as many of these events we can find — see our events map or event calendar to find events near you.

Go Stargazing’s very own Robert Ince is organising one of these events in support of the Forestry Commission:

New Moon Stargazing at Gisburn Dark Sky Discovery Site

Gisburn Forest Hub, Near Tosside, BB7

Tonight is the New Moon so there should be great opportunity to travel through the constellations and along the Milky Way. Following an indoor presentation there will be powerful telescopes for you to gaze through, all operated by experienced...

Sunday 26th February 2017 from 19:30pm to 22:30pm

At events like these, experienced astronomers will have their telescopes set up for you to look through and will be your guides, explaining what you can see and pointing things out for you.

Startrails over Kielder Campsite

Startrails over Kielder Campsite

If you don’t want to attend a managed event, why not try the ‘Why Stars Matter’ self-led trails, where you can find marked trails and information boards with fun facts about stargazing and how stars support the forests, making it the perfect after-school activity.

Moon Walk at Haldon Forest Park

Haldon Forest Park - Forestry Commission, Exeter, EX6 7XR

Visit Haldon Forest Park for this fantastic family stargazing event! There'll be lots of activities along the self-led discovery trail including tunnels and soundbox stations to listen to night time animals, a campfire with marshmallow toasting...

Saturday 25th March 2017 from 18:30pm to 20:00pm

The Forestry Commission have also teamed up with the Met Office, so you can check out the daily cloud cover for all the participating forests, using their stargazing map. You can even submit your night sky photos into a photo competition for a chance to win £100 in Amazon vouchers (competition ends 26 March 2017).

So, why not give it a go? The forest really isn’t scary at night — tell someone where you are going and be prepared with torches, warm clothes and hot refreshments — the wow of the night sky will make up for any spooky noises…

Find out more at

stargazing events

School holidays always present a bit of a dilemma for many parents. What can you do to help keep children active and occupied? How can you get them out of the house and have a break from the games console or television? How about going one better! Get them inspired and go stargazing!

There are a surprising number of stargazing events taking place during half term across the whole of the UK and it’s therefore likely you’ll find one reasonably close to you. What’s more the vast majority of events are free of charge or inexpensive meaning you and your family can get out and about for little more than the cost of petrol.

Children just love astronomy! You might think they are not that interested however you’ll be surprised at just how much they know! It’s great fun to get out under starry skies and there’s no shortage of friendly astronomers who are more than happy to share the excitement of looking at a distant galaxy hundreds of millions of light years away through a telescope. Take a thermos of hot chocolate and wrap up warm!

Half term dates vary across the regions of the UK — the below maps show stargazing events taking place during the two weeks from 10th February through to 26th February. We hope you find an event taking place near you and will keep our fingers crossed for clear skies!

Stargazing events from 10th February to 16th February 2017

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Stargazing events from 17th February to 26th February 2017

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For more events see our event map or event calendar. You can also register to receive details of stargazing events close to you.

The National Parks Dark Skies Festival this year runs from the 18th to 26th February 2017.

During this period there will be numerous activities and events taking place within the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales and South Downs National Parks. All events are suitable for families and therefore offer a great opportunity to get outdoors and in the fresh air!

The festival coincides with the Spring half-term period and many events are free or negligible cost. There’s plenty of opportunities to keep the kids occupied during the holidays — what better way to get them away from the TV / computer / console than going stargazing!

What’s more the festival also coincides with a new moon period. This means there is no moon in the sky at night time and the skies are at their darkest! Travelling just a little out of town and away from light pollution means you’ll be able to see thousands more stars than you can at home. Seeing the Milky Way arching across the sky from one horizon to another is a sight that will inspire anyone!


Stargazing events will have astronomers on hand to help you find your way around the sky and you’ll be invited to look through telescopes. There’s plenty of daytime activities too! With everything from rocket building, planetarium shows to making aliens and even a Deck Chair Cinema showing kid’s space movies!

Activities vary from park to park however the theme is the same — learn about our Universe and see it for yourself under the dark skies of our National Parks!

A selected handful of stargazing events from the festival appears below. You can find stargazing events close to you using our events map. For more information about the festival visit the Dark Skies Festival website.

North York Moors National Park

Stargazing Evening at Yorkshire Arboretum

Yorkshire Arboretum, Malton, YO60 7BY

Part of the National Parks Dark Skies Festival this event is being run with the assistance of York Astronomical Society who will be on hand with their telescopes helping you observing star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. If the weather doesn't play...

Saturday 18th February 2017 from 19:00pm to 22:00pm

Night Vision with Forest Ranger

Cropton Cabins Holiday Park, Wrelton, YO18 8ES

This night-time nature walk is a great idea for a family evening away in the great outdoors. Listen to the owls as you spot deer using infrared equipment, then gaze up at the dark skies where you will see thousands more stars than you would if you...

Sunday 19th February 2017 from 18:00pm to 19:30pm

Celestial Exploring with Hidden Horizons

Ravenscar Village, Scarborough, YO13 0ET

Join expert astronomer Andy Exton FRAS from Hidden Horizons for this evening of stargazing and observing through large telescopes. You are welcome to bring along your own telescope or binoculars -- hot chocalate and snacks will be provided. Prior...

Tuesday 21st February 2017 from 19:30pm to 22:30pm

Dark Skies at Sutton Bank

Sutton Bank, Near Thirsk, YO7 2EH

Join the York Astronomical Society under the dark skies of Sutton Bank for this evening of stargazing! You are welcome to bring your own telescope if you have one. There'll be interesting talks on astronomy and refreshments available. This event is...

Saturday 25th February 2017 from 19:00pm to 21:00pm

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Stargazing in Sedbergh (location tbc)

Sedbergh, Sedbergh,

Introduction to stargazing and constellations, listen to stories under the stars and have a go at astro-photography. This free event is part of the National Parks "Dark Skies Festival" visit the event website (link below) for actual event...

Monday 20th February 2017 from 18:00pm to 20:00pm

South Downs National Park

Public Observing with Eastbourne Astro

Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne, BN22 7AQ

Join members of Eastbourne Astronomical Society for one of their public observing sessions at The Redoubt Fortress, event goes ahead all weather with presentations taking place in the Casement. Free of charge, bring your telescope along if you have...

Saturday 18th February 2017 from 18:00pm to 20:00pm

Iping Common Stargazing Party

Iping Common, Near Trotton, GU31

Explore the night sky with powerful telescopes and local astronomy experts.

Tuesday 21st February 2017 from 18:30pm to 22:00pm

Dark Skies Stargazing Party at RSPB Pulborough

RSPB Pulborough Brooks, Pulborough, RH20 2EL

Experience this lovely nature reserve by night at our its first ever Stargazing party! Come along and admire the star studded skies, spot constellations and find craters on the moon as part of the South Downs National Park Dark Skies...

Friday 24th February 2017 from 19:00pm to 19:30pm

Looking for Stargazing Live 2018? Check here

It has been officially announced that the popular BBC Stargazing Live TV show will be on our screens once again on the 28th, 29th and 30th March 2017. This year the team will be broadcasting live from Australia.

To coincide with the television program there are a number of stargazing events held across the whole of the UK. Numerous Astronomical Societies and Observatories open their doors to the public. National Parks and local councils arrange special events. There are lots of opportunities to get outside in the great outdoors and go stargazing. It’s a fantastic experience to be under dark skies looking through telescopes whilst learning about the Universe we live in.

What is Go Stargazing?

Go Stargazing helps people find stargazing events all year round. Our ambition is to promote Astronomy to as wide as audience as possible. We help amateur astronomers, astronomical societies and observatories raise awareness of themselves and the great things they do. You can find stargazing events taking place near you any time using our events map or calendar. You can also register to receive email notifications of stargazing events in your local area and follow us on Facebook.  Please keep coming back as we are always adding new events!

BBC Stargazing Live 2017 Events Map

The map below shows stargazing events taking place during the BBC Stargazing Live 2017 dates from 27th March through 2nd April. We will continue to add events to this map as we hear about them.

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Promoting your events

If you organise stargazing events and would like your events shown here simply send an email to [email protected] and include the website address detailing the event in your message.

The BBC have also created an official list of partner events on their Stargazing Live website.

A “Starcamp” is an organised stargazing event that takes place at a time around a new moon when the skies are nice and dark for stargazing. Such events are often based at a remote campsite or caravan park and away from light pollution.

“Starcamping” offers a means of getting away from the city lights, away from light pollution, away from the hum-drum of day-to-day life and into a world where you can be at one with our Universe, literally!

Although Starcamps take place throughout the year the best events are held from Autumn through to Spring when less daylight hours allow for more stargazing time and the cold, crisp nights mean the skies above are settled making it perfect for observing, especially through telescopes. You’ll find friendly, experienced amateur astronomers on hand and keen to share their knowledge and passion for their favourite subject.

Most of us will have to travel some distance to find a dark sky location therefore not only do Starcamps make an ideal short break the journey is made all the more worthwhile when you see the Milky Way arching over you and thousands of stars visible to the naked eye. Staying over a couple of nights increases the chances you’ll get a break in the weather.


It’s not necessary to rough it either! You’ll find campsites with pitches that have electric hook-ups for fan heaters and a warm room where you can make a cuppa. There’s often a pub nearby too!

Starcamps are social events and you’ll undoubtedly make new friends, when you call it a night just snuggle up with your partner under the extra duvet you packed in addition to your sleeping bags! 😉

Going camping at anytime when it’s likely to be chilly is not for the faint-hearted, however, for the more adventurous amongst you this is perhaps the best way of experiencing stargazing and such efforts are often incredibly rewarding!

Forthcoming Starcamps

Apr 2019

AstroCamp - Spring 2019 – 27/04/2019 - 30/04/2020

Apr 2020

AstroCamp - Spring 2020 – 25/04/2020 - 28/04/2020

Sep 2020

AstroCamp - Autumn 2020 – 19/09/2020 - 22/09/2020

Welcome to Go Stargazing!

Thank you for visiting our website which we have created to help you find stargazing events and locations near you.

As a group of enthusiastic astronomers we enjoy sharing our hobby with members of the public and frequently help with stargazing events across the North of England. From experience we know how difficult it is to tell people about these events and how challenging it can be for event organisers to promote them — currently there is nowhere that people can go to find out about them — this lead us to the idea of creating “Go Stargazing”.

You will find that the vast majority of stargazing events on this website are run by Astronomical Societies, these offer fantastic opportunities to meet friendly, like minded people, to get help and advice or to try looking through a telescope for the very first time! They always welcome members of the public and often attending their meetings or observing sessions is free of charge or cost only a small donation.

There are also a number of observatories across the UK that open their doors to the public, again often for free or minimal fee. Children love looking through telescopes and it can be a great way of getting them outdoors!

Why not get out there and go stargazing yourself! Light pollution in the UK restricts our views of the skies however there are some great places to go and see the Milky Way… Dark Sky Discovery sites are dotted around the country and are official places where you can go to stargaze without fear of being moved on by the police! The UK is now home to a number of Dark Sky Parks & Reserves which are areas noted for their dark skies and given special protection from the advance of light pollution from towns and cities.

If you are heading to somewhere remote be sure to check our dark sky calendar to make sure the affects of natural light pollution from sunlight and moonlight don’t affect your views of the heavens.

Whatever you choose to do we hope you have a great time!

The Go Stargazing Team

Stargazing Events Map

Looking for an organised stargazing event near you? View a map of forthcoming events.

Stargazing Events Calendar

Find future stargazing events using this handy calendar.

Stargazing Location Map

Search for a great place to stargaze using our comprehensive map of stargazing locations.

Dark Skies Calendar

Thinking of travelling to a dark sky site? Check the best dates with our easy to use dark sky calendar.

Register to receive stargazing event notifications