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Kielder Observatory visit


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Had an amazing trip to the Kielder Observatory last night. The skies there are believed to be some of, if not the darkest in the UK and last night was no exception as it never stopped raining! That said, the observatory director, Gary Fides, the observatory director, gave an extremely thought provoking and stimulating talk followed by a tour of the facility despite there being just 4 of us in attendence. Just standing next to the Meade LX200 14" had my heart racing!

Can't wait to return to next available public observing night and have an opportunity to use the Meade and the 20" Dob!

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It's an hour and a half's drive for me and I live in the adjacent county but well worth it.

Apparantly tonight's sell out talk is by a scientist who works at the VLT in Chile ..

Can't wait to re-visit especially if they have clear skies soon as the aurora borealis is often visible from there during periods of high solar activity as an added bonus.

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We've been to an open day there and it was really amazing to stand in that observatory. Unfortunately both times we attempt observation from Kielder it was cloudy. Planning on going to the Planset session at the end of April, hopefully clear skies. Please! LOL

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I couldn't recommend a visit to the Kielder observatory highly enough! Clear skies and the place is magical! For a taste of what it might be like to visit and perhaps attend the star camp check out this fantastic 'time lapse video'

Edited by Tarazed
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I visited there when they had their opening a couple of years ago, unfortunately also in the rain! It's a great location, it is very dark in the Forrest and being up on quite a large hill gives a good view down to the horizon. I only get up there maybe once a year as I live in the midlands but do like to stargaze in Northumberland. The big Meade is very impressive.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We had another amazing visit there last night. This time the weather was kind and we were rewarded with breathtaking dark skies and amazing views of M13 and M51 through the 20" Dob plus incredible views of Saturn via the 14" Meade LX200.

After everyone else had drifted away we spent another hour chatting with Gary on the observing deck (big enough to set up a dozen or more private scopes) and just sky watched. The low arc of the Milky Way was clearly visible in the north and we were fortunate to see 4 meteors, one of which had a very bright, long burn. No sign of the aurora but it's not hard to see why it can be regularly seen from there with appropriate activity.

Gary is a very affable, experienced astronomer with a great deal of scientific, cosmological understanding which he readily shares with enormous passion. The observatory was his vision and it's not hard to see how his determination made the project happen.

Highly recommended and we'll soon be back!

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