Join us at Marlborough Dark Skies Festival this October

Avatar for Annabelle Sanderson
By Annabelle Sanderson
26th July 2021

CPRE Wiltshire are delighted to be attending the first ever Marlborough Dark Skies Fest this October.

Organised by Marlborough Town Council and the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it looks set to be a fun filled and informative series of events over the last week in October.

The event opens on the 25th October 2021 and culminates in a jam-packed programme on the weekend of the 30th – 31st of science and art activities celebrating the night sky.

BBC’s The Sky at Night presenter, Prof Chris Lintott, is the guest speaker and there will be an opportunity to visit the Blackett Observatory – the world’s oldest computerised telescope at Marlborough College.

Light pollution not only limits our views of these skies, but also disrupts wildlife’s natural patterns. We want to reclaim our dark skies.

CPRE Wiltshire will be present at this event with a stall from the 29th – 31st October complete with information on Dark Skies and the CPRE Star Count.

Emma Marrington, the charity’s national expert on rural communities and Dark Skies lead, will be speaking Sunday.

Events across the week and weekend (mostly free) will stretch throughout the day and into the evening at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues across the town; including:

· Stargazing by night and Solar Astronomy by day

· A tour of the night sky in an immersive Planetarium

· Learn about the solar system and taking photos using your phone, try your hand at sketching the stars, create sand patterns from the sound of a star.

· Family fun includes art workshops, storytelling, become a space detective!

· A wide range of talks from getting started in astronomy, life aboard the International Space Station, to astronomical alignments of Stonehenge, wildlife of the night, and mapping & minimising light pollution.

· Exhibitions throughout the weekend from local astronomy groups, astrophotography, meteorites, protecting dark skies, astro jewellery and more.

More about Dark Skies

Interest in the night sky has been growing in recent years, with TV series such as Prof. Brian Cox’s Wonders of the… and The Planets, as well as the BBC’s long running Sky at Night. Dark Sky festivals take place in several National Parks across the UK, and the International Dark Sky Places programme now has over 130 protected areas across the globe.

With financial help from The Arts Council England, The Royal Astronomical Society, The British Astronomical Association, and Wiltshire Council Local Youth Network, Marlborough Dark Skies Fest is an opportunity to celebrate the night sky around Marlborough, a rural town in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and inspire both visitors and locals about keeping our dark skies Dark!

Stargazing: Robert Ince
Two people searching for something against a cloudy blue sky