Activities and Resources
It’s the half term and we’ve got loads of things you can get involved in this week, have a look through the page to find something that suits you.
Why not try improving your knowledge of the constellations you can see in the sky or getting out in nature for a night-time I-spy. Head around the world and go on virtual visits of some of the globes best dark sky reserves or even explore outer space, getting involved in citizen science projects that map the universe.
If you take any photos during the week upload them to social media using the hashtag #DevonDarkSkies
Download our Guide to a home lighting assessment and then go through our Checklist for each light fixture in your home to see how you could improve your lighting choices to reduce the environmental impact.
Dark Skies Bingo, print off our bingo sheet and try and complete all the activities this dark skies week.
Make a telescope to see the stars up close or use it in the day to see wildlife high up in the trees.
Create a sky chart to help you find objects in the night sky and identify the constellations you can see with this hand step by step provided by the International Dark Skies Association (IDA).
Make a Planisphere also known as a star wheel, this is like a sky chart but you can adjust it to show what the sky is like at different times of the year or when visiting different hemispheres. Step by step provided by the IDA.
Visit a Dark Sky Discovery Site, Devon has two Dark Sky Discovery Sites outside of Exmoor National Park which are easily accessible and offer the potential to see the milky way. These are Trinity Hill Local Nature Reserve and Knapp Copse Local Nature Reserve.
Nominate a Dark Sky Discovery site, Devon only has two nominated Dark Sky discovery sites but if you’ve got a green space near you where you’re away from the worst light pollution, there are good sightlines and there is good public access you can nominate your site. Nominations are also widely accepted from community and school groups so you can do this activity with others.
Visit a Virtual Dark Sky Reserve
While it may be difficult to look at dark skies from different places around the world right now, we’ve brought a collection of videos together so you can still experience some incredible dark skies in the mean time.
Dartmoor National Park – A time-lapse film by Arthur Cauty, taken from the depths of Dartmoor National Park
Exmoor National Park – Exmoor NP was the very first designated International Dark Sky Reserve. Discover what this means and learn how you too can explore the dark night skies of Exmoor
Northumberland National Park – Head north to Northumberland and watch the stars travel through the sky in another time-lapse video created by the National Park
Galloway International Dark Sky Park – A short time lapse film by Alasdair MacLeod set in the Galloway Forest National Park in south west Scotland. The park is a designated dark skies location, and is a fabulous place for viewing the night sky.
Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve – A time-lapse compilation showcasing the night inside and around Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand’s South Island. Aoraki Mackenzie is the largest gold rated dark sky reserve in the world, covering 4367 square kilometres.
Citizen Science Projects
Galaxy Zoo – Help astronomers learn how galaxies form by classifying telescope images of distant galaxies according to their shapes, you may even be the first person to ever see these images.
Solar Stormwatch – Track eruptions of material from the solar atmosphere as they expand through the inner solar system so we can improve space weather forecasts.
Moon Mappers – Map craters on the moon so that any robots can find safe spaces to land.
Stardust@Home – Find tiny interstellar dust particles that originated in distant stars light years away, collected on an aerogel from space.