Here you can find all the events that will be going on across the county during Devon Dark Skies week (23rd to 30th October) along with more information and how to join in.
19th and 20th October 19:30 – Dark skies adventure by boat from Minehead
A two hour boat trip for eight people on the ‘Alykat’ a 10m power driven catamaran. With ample deck space and seating you will sail from Minehead harbour to down the Exmoor coastline to Porlock bay. With luck we may have clear skies and pitch black conditions, giving the opportunity to see some awesome night time sky sightings. You may wish to bring food and a hot flask. Book or find out more for your own exclusive group/bubble of up to 8 people by contacting Dave Roberts on 07764150648 or email, total cost is £150
23rd October 18:00 – Ranger guided walk up Hollerday Hill, Lynton
Meet your guides Ranger Dave Gurnett and local expert Tony Piper at Lynton Town Hall at 6pm before zig-zagging your way up through the trees and later views through this spectacular scenery. Whether it’s clear or cloudy, the tranquil atmosphere of this location at night will blow you mind! Numbers limited to 25. Walk lasts 1.5 -2 hours depending on weather and visibility. Booking open later this week on the Exmoor NP webpage.
23rd October 20:30 – A Virtual Planetarium Tour of the Night Sky
Join us on a journey through the stars brought to you by the Norman Lockyer Observatory in East Devon. The evening will begin with a planetarium show using Stellarium software where beginners will be talked through observing and exploring the night sky. Then if conditions are clear we will be able to stream livestream images of the moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars, up close through the observatory telescope allowing you to see the surface of the moon and all the planets.
25th October 18:00 – ‘An Introduction to Astrophotography’ with Tom Pinches
26th October 11:00 – Space Detectives ‘In the Night Sky Live’ online family event
Come and investigate the amazing sky full of stars. Learn about constellations and how our ancestors would have viewed the night sky. And then become a Dark Sky Ranger and understand just how important it is to look after and care for the night not just for now but for future generations. A highly interactive Space Workshop suitable for families of all ages. Delivered live and online by Jo who is a professional Space Outreach Educator and the founder of Space Detectives. Jo is also a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society as well as being one of the 10 current UK Space Ambassadors working on behalf of the European Space Education Office. If you love space, then this workshop is for you! Book Space Detectives Now.
26th October 18:00 – Online webinar ‘What is Lighting?’ presented by Bonnie Brooks MSc MSLL MCIBSE from Illume Design
Do you know the difference between a lumen and lux? Do you know how LED’s work differently to Halogen bulbs? But most importantly, do you know how out lighting choices can impact the wildlife around us. In this talk Bonnie will provide the answer to some of these questions, covering the basics of the lighting that surrounds us in an engaging way, enabling us to make better choices in the future.
Bonnie is a chartered electrical engineer and lighting specialist with over fifteen years’ experience working within the industry. She has an MSc in Light and Lighting, and specialises in interior / exterior lighting design and daylighting design. Developing concept to detailed designs, producing detailed surveys, reports and 3D modelling. She specialises in producing Lighting Impact Assessments to accompany planning applications. Assessing and advising on mitigation of the effects from both internal and external lighting on the environment and ecological sensitivities. She has also contributed to much of the guidance surrounding artificial lighting and bats, with a particular passion for the effects of lighting on wildlife and the environment.
27th October 12:00 – ‘Embracing Nature and Darkness to Inspire Creativity and Improve Wellbeing’ with Tiffany Francis-Baker
Many of us are familiar with exploring nature during daylight, going on walks, birdwatching and insect hunting but the nocturnal landscape can offer us unique experiences too. In this webinar Tiffany will explore a range of themes around deriving inspiration from the night. This will include how spending time in nature at night can benefit our own physical and mental health. How embracing the circadian rhythm and living with the changing seasons can fit in with life in the modern world. How to find creative inspiration in the nightscape, with a focus on writing and drawing and how embracing nocturnal nature and darkness can inspire creativity and wellbeing.
Tiffany Francis-Baker is author and contributor to five books including Dark Skies which explores the different nightscapes across the UK and beyond over the course of a year including a nocturnal sail down the River Dart. During her travels she has explored how our relationship as humans and the darkness of the night sky has changed over time. As well as looking at how our experience of the night has shaped science, history and storytelling. In 2019 Tiffany was also chosen as a Writer-in-Residence for Forestry England to celebrate their centenary year and has also written, edited and illustrated for a number of national publications, including The Guardian, Harper’s Bazaar, Countryfile, BBC Wildlife and Resurgence & Ecologist. If you would like to find out more about Tiffany’s work you can visit her website or follow her on Instagram. You can also buy her Dark Skies Book.
28th October 18:00 – Online Webinar ‘Wildlife and Artificial Lighting’ presented by a collection of speakers including Professor Fiona Matthews, Dr Julie Day, Will Scott and Douglas Boyes.
Light pollution is a threat to 60% of nocturnal invertebrates and 30% of vertebrates. The advent of LEDs is making lighting cheaper, more efficient and accessible but are there consequences for the wildlife that surrounds us?
This webinar will bring together four researchers from a variety of organisations keenly aware of the impact lighting is having on wildlife. They will each discuss the effects different lighting options are having on their study species through a series of short presentations helping us to understand how we can best prevent and mitigate against the impacts of lighting in the future.
Professor Fiona Matthews, Chair of the Mammal Society and Professor of Environmental Biology at Sussex University
Dr Julie Day, Evidence Specialist for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Will Scott, Habitat Mitigation Officer for the South East Devon Habitats Regulation Partnership
Douglas Boyes, Entomologist currently completing a NERC-funded PhD at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) Wallingford investigating the impacts of street lighting on moths.
29th October 18:00 – Online webinar ‘What Future for Dark Skies’ presented by Bob Mizon MBE from the Commission for Dark Skies.
In this webinar Bob Mizon will discus the state of Britain’s night skies, the threat to our view of the stars from modern lighting, and solutions to light pollution. The LED revolution currently occurring in outdoor lighting could easily have reversed the tide of wasted light that has blighted the starry sky over the developed world – but have LEDs made it worse?
Bob Mizon is a graduate in modern languages, but is much better known as an astronomer. He is now a planetarium operator, taking a mobile dome into schools, youth groups and societies all over southern England. Over 150,000 people have experienced a tour of the Universe with Bob at the controls. Bob is best known in the scientific and environmental community as the co-ordinator of the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies, which aims to turn back the tide of light pollution that has seriously affected our view of the stars over the last fifty years. Glare, light intrusion and skyglow have become the norm nowadays, a situation hardly compatible with a society which is supposed to be saving energy and protecting the environment. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1985, and has been associated with the Wessex Astronomical Society in various offices for many years. In 2010 Bob was awarded the MBE for his work in astronomy and environmental education. He is a STEM* Ambassador, seeking opportunities to bring astronomy to both adult and young people’s groups in the South. An active observer of the night sky, Bob lectures to astronomy societies and groups all over the count.