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Nidderdale, beautiful by day and by night

Nidderdale, beautiful by day and by night

We are fortunate to have the National Parks of the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors close at hand for exploring during the day, but have you considered that these areas of unspoilt natural beauty are also free from light pollution making them equally special at night?

The number of stars and planets visible with the naked eye or even through a telescope is dependent on the ambient light around you from streetlights, vehicles and buildings, therefore being in a remote location gives you the darkest skies and best views of more celestial bodies. Upper Nidderdale has truly dark skies to provide a special stargazing experience.

On a clear night it is possible to see up to 2,000 stars including the Milky Way. Not only can you see the stars but also often visible are a range of planets, the northern lights, the moon and shooting stars.

The fourth annual Dark Skies Festival will be held with Nidderdale Area Of Natural Beauty every night from February 15 to March 3 encouraging us to discover the stars, planets and even nocturnal creatures of the area. All stargazers are welcome from beginners to experts. Events will include guided star gazing, night-time cycling and lessons in astrophotography. There are will be family events and plenty for children to do too.

Stargazing is easier to understand these days with a number of apps available for mobile devices to show you what you are seeing.  These clever additions to your phone or tablet will also tell you when other events are happening, such as when the International Space Station is moving across the sky.

You might want to take binoculars or a small telescope if you have them, but you will be able to see plenty with the naked eye. Other essentials include warm clothing, snacks and hot drinks and plenty of patience as it takes approximately 20 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness and really begin to see the stars properly. You might also have to wait for any cloud cover to pass.  Check our 10 Top Tips for Stargazing to be fully prepped for your night under the stars.

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