Northumberland International Dark Sky Park.

Brown Rigg is in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, which is the fourth largest Dark Sky Park in the world. Measuring 572 square miles, it was awarded Gold Tier status in 2013 by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), which is the highest award that the IDA can give.

A Sky Quality Meter reading of 20 or 21 indicates a dark sky where stargazing is at its best and the stars of the Milky Way are clearly visible. A series of meter readings taken around Brown Rigg on a clear night in March 2020 (with all lights off) has consistently produced readings between 21 and 22. The Milky way is best observed during Autumn evenings when it`s high in the sky. Winter and Spring is a good time to see bright galaxies.
September to mid-April is the ideal time for spotting the Auora Borellias.

Between May and July, you can spot Noctilucent clouds, which are extremely rare collections of ice crystals, appearing in clear summer evenings about 30 minutes after sunset. The clouds are usually bluish or silvery.
To help you enjoy the starry skies, we can provide a stargazing pack which includes a pair of 10 x 50 binoculars, red light torches, star maps and details of Apps. There are 2 packs available for you to borrow upon request but don`t forget it can take your eyes up to 40 minutes to completely adjust to the darkness.

If you would like to experience a guided astronomy weekend, then why not treat yourselves to one of our StarFest packages. In conjunction with professional Astronomers, we operate residential breaks that are suitable for all including families. During the weekend you can take part in workshops, listen to presentations, use telescopes and take part in dark sky viewing sessions.

Kielder Observatory is just a 25-minute drive away and Battlesteads Observatory is a 5-minute drive. Both offer year-round astronomical events but due to their popularity booking in advance is essential.

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