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Starlight spectacular

Friday, 11 January 2019 10:55

With the long winter nights still upon us, now is the perfect time to wrap up warm and head outside to enjoy the magic of the stars.

In February 2019 CPRE is supporting a host of stargazing initiatives across the county to highlight the importance of our dark skies and the need to protect them.

“Genuine dark starry nights are becoming harder to find,” says CPRE Director, Kia Trainor. “Light pollution can really impact on both human health and on wildlife, so we would really encourage people to get involved.”

The South Downs National Park, the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Woodland Trust and the RSPB all have dark skies initiatives this year, so why not shake off the winter blues with a little star gazing?

Sussex’s biggest night sky event gets underway on February 15 with the South Downs Dark Skies Festival and stargazing road show. This year’s two week festival is Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the lunar landings in 1969 so there will be many opportunities to take a closer look at our moon and to learn about its importance to our planet.

The Festival road show will be visiting these venues:

  • Saturday 16 February – Midhurst Rother College, Midhurst, West Sussex, 4.00pm – 8.00pm
  • Monday 18 February – Festival Hall, Petersfield, Hampshire, 4.00pm – 8.00pm

  • Wednesday 20 February – The Town Hall, Lewes, 4.00pm – 8.00pm

If you can’t make the Festival then there are plenty more stargazing events across the county, many hosted by local groups such as the East Sussex Astronomical Society, which is holding a Telescope Fest in March: .

And if you would rather stargaze at home, the High Weald AONB has created its own star counting programme which includes free activity cards for children. The initiative called,

Help us Count the Stars can be found on the ANOB’s website:

Meanwhile the Woodland Trust has produced guides on nocturnal animals for young stargazers: and the RSPB has a Big Wild Sleep-out:

Sussex is a remarkable county for stargazing despite being located so close to the vast halo of light pollution produced by London and its urban fringes. However, despite this ever-encroaching threat, the South Downs National Park became a Dark Skies Reserve in 2011 and Wealden was named as one of the 20 darkest districts in England just two years ago.

Please help us to preserve the starry skies over your home:

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