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Discover some of the darkest skies in Yorkshire. Free from the cumulative light pollution of towns and cities, street lights and signage, the staggering number of stars and planets visible in the sky can be seen.

Visit one of our Dark Sky Discovery Sites and redefine how you think of the night sky, not just a few constellations, but a sea of stars, planets and galaxies.

What is a Dark Sky Discovery Site?

Dark Sky sites come in two different designations:

Orion Sites: At an Orion site you can clearly make out the seven stars that make the constellation of Orion. As the Orion sites in Nidderdale are far from large towns and cities, they easily exceed the criteria of darkness. However, their key feature is their accessibility. You can still see all the constellations, as well as the International Space Station and other satellites as they pass overhead.

Milky Way Sites: The darkest sites where the sky is so dark that you can see the Milky Way with the naked eye. The Milky Way appears as a pale strip across the sky but is made up of millions of stars. Milky Way sites are by their nature more remote, so good preparations should be made if you are thinking of visiting one for a long time.

Dark Sky sites are locations across the country where you can be sure of a great star gazing experience - clouds allowing (there are sadly some things we can’t control).

The locations will all:

  • Be free of charge to access and open throughout the night.
  • Be easy to access and possible to access by car - please be aware there may already be stargazers there, so take your lights off beam to protect their acclimatisation, and turn lights off immediately on parking.
  • Be a firm even surface underfoot (this may be tarmac or aggregate/gravel, or kept grass).
  • Be free from artificial lighting.

For more information on the Dark Skies Discovery Sites scheme see the official website.

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