Stargazers make a bee-line for new observatory
THE launch of a dark-sky observatory in Teesdale has been a success with people making multiple bookings, say the organisers.
The first events at Grassholme observatory were held late last month. The facility was opened by Northumbrian Water in the hope of taking advantage of the dale’s dark skies.
Lead astronomer Gary Fildes, the founder of Kielder Observatory, said: “We’ve seen real enthusiasm for the Observatory, both in terms of strong bookings, with some people booking multiple sessions before we even opened, and from the people at the first sessions, so it’s really exciting.”
Stargazers have been getting a “whistle stop tour of the universe” during the sessions.
Photographer Guy Carpenter attended one event. He said: “We arrived sceptically at Grassholme Observatory under heavy drizzle and low cloud. Seeing any stars at all seemed a bit of an impossibility. Inside, Gary Fildes gave us a bit of an information session – very useful for any astronomy newcomers – and then we went out to use the telescope as the forecast clear skies appeared right on schedule.
“The Milky Way arced overhead in the dark sky, and through the telescope we could see distant nebula and star clusters, as well as clearly make out the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter.”
Visit www.grassholmeobservatory.com for more details.