RSPB Geltsdale Celebrates Dark Sky Status with the Border Astronomical Society

On our most recent visit (2 February 2015) there was a covering of snow and cars could get no further than the RSPB car park. Everybody was transported over the fell by Stephen to the centre in his landrover fitted with snow chains. Many thanks to Stephen who carried not only the people but also our equipment, including the 6" refractor.

The sky had about 80% cloud cover and was rather misty. It got better as time went on and everybody had the chance to observe the full moon and Jupiter and its moons. As well as the presentation on the night sky we had a short presentation on comets and asteroids as Comet Lovejoy was in the news.

Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us for our second visit to RSPB Geltsdale so we just had to rely on a Powerpoint presentation of the night sky and an update on the Rosetta mission.

We were very lucky to have a brilliant night sky on 23 January 2014, particularly as the night before and the night after were cloudy and wet. About 24 people were at the event from both RSPB and BAS as well as members of the public.

The location was an ideal dark sky location and everybody had the chance to look at Jupiter and its satellites, the Orion Nebula, The Andromeda nebula, M81 and M82 (which has a supernova visible in it at present) through both the 6" refractor and also 6" Schmidt Cassegrain belonging to Terry.

Everybody said they had a great time and many thanks to the RSPB Geltsdale staff who made us so welcome, providing light refreshments for everybody.

Viewing Jupiter through the 6" refractor M82 showing the Supernova (Ugur Ikizler)

A photographer from the News and Star was there so look out for images in the local paper

Here is the article from the Cumberland News on 31 January 2014

Details of the event as published are shown below

To celebrate RSPB Geltsdale’s Dark Sky Discovery Site status; Border Astronomical Society will be hosting a sky watch event at 7pm on Thursday 23rd January.  Both Society members and members of the public are welcome to attend.

If the night is clear participants should get an excellent view of the night sky, especially Jupiter and her moons, together with the constellation of Orion, which are particularly prominent at this time of year.  If cloudy conditions obscure the view, a PowerPoint presentation will be used to illustrate what is visible in the sky at this time of year.

RSPB Geltsdale was awarded Dark Sky Discovery Site status in September 2013 with the support of the North Pennines (AONB).  The reserve’s location, with wide open views of the horizon and away from the light pollution of towns and cities is a great place for amateur and professional astronomers to stargaze.

Border Astronomical Society was formed in 1971 by its secretary David Pettitt.
As a society they hold regular bi-monthly meetings, give talks, hold special events and run the observatory at Trinity School, Carlisle.

There is an event charge of £2 for RSPB members/children and Border Astronomical Society members.  A charge of £4 will apply for adult non-members and £2 for their children.  All monies raised will support the work of RSPB Geltsdale and the Border Astronomical Society.
For further details and to book your place, contact the reserve by telephone on 016977 46717 or alternatively by email

For a poster of the event click HERE

For a map to get there click HERE