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Chance to go stargazing over Ladybower

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Would-be stargazers are invited to explore the night sky and delve into local history in the Upper Derwent valley on Saturday December 10.

The Peak District National Park Authority, Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Astronomical Society are offering 20 free places for beginners to get clued up on what is happening in the dark skies over Ladybower reservoir.

The event will include short talks from local specialists on the Upper Derwent Valley, the Peak District Dark Skies project, and what can be seen in the winter night sky.

It takes place on Saturday December 10, 4pm to 6.30pm at the Upper Derwent Visitor Centre, Fairholmes, and as it is limited to 20 people, booking is essential by email to john.tanner@peakdistrict.gov.uk or mention @peakdarkskies on Twitter.

People need to bring a torch, warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear. Dogs are not allowed. A waiting list will be used to prioritise bookings for future events.

John Tanner, a research officer for the Peak District National Park Authority and keen astronomer, said: “The Upper Derwent Valley has a fascinating past, from the Dambusters using it for navigation practice to a drowned village. It is ideal for looking at the stars because it is in an extremely dark location well away from streetlights and other sources of light pollution.

“If the weather holds, the remarkable museum in the western tower of Derwent dam will be opened for people who attend the event, and experts from Sheffield Astronomical Society will show people how to explore the night sky using telescopes and binoculars.”

On a clear night viewers should see the planet Jupiter, the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy – 2.5 million light years away – the most distant feature in the universe that can be seen with the naked eye.

The event will go ahead whatever the weather (for snow arrangements see www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/darkskies  ). The first half of the event will be undercover, with a short woodland walk to a viewing platform where, weather permitting, stargazing will take place.

The national park authority, Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Astronomical Society are all part of the Peak District Dark Skies group which aims to raise awareness of the special qualities of the night sky in and around the Peak District National Park.

The events are made possible by support from the university’s Centre for Effective Learning in Science, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and the Peak District Dark Skies group. Keep up to date with future events on www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/darkskies

This is an archived press release

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