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Stargazing events in Dorset - 2015

PUBLISHED: 15:40 19 March 2015 | UPDATED: 15:40 19 March 2015

Durdle Door - photo by Stephen Banks

Durdle Door - photo by Stephen Banks

Archant

From Durlston Country Park, to Moors Valley, to Kingston Lacy; there’s a number of stargazing events on offer in Dorset soon.

DURLSTON COUNTRY PARK

Located just south of Swanage, Durlston Country Park’s dark skies make it the ideal place for a spot of stargazing. Its Astronomy Centre consists of a telescope housed in its own observatory dome, together with regular talks and lectures in the nearby Learning Centre. It is supported by the Ranger staff at the Country Park and by members of the Wessex Astronomical Society.

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28 March at 7.30pm: The Moon, Jupiter, Star Clusters, Orino Nebula, Galaxies and the Spring Constellations

Part of the BBC Stargazing Live event - Join experts form the Wessex Astronomical Society for a short talk and a chance to observe the night sky with telescopes. Weather dependent call 01929 4233342 on the day to confirm (durlston.co.uk). For more details of the Wessex Astronomical Society visit www.wessex-astro.org.uk

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22 April at 9pm: Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Lyrid meteors (shooting stars) and the Spring constellations.

Details as before.

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MOORS VALLEY COUNTRY PARK

Situated in the east of the county near Ringwood, on the Hampshire border, Moors Valley is another top place for dark skies and they are offering a four week beginners stargazing course as well as a BBC Stargazing Live event this month.

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Mondays 2, 9, 16 and 23 March: Start Stargazing

Join Stephen Tonkin for a tour around the night sky on this four week course. Sessions cover the Solar System and deep sky objects such as galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. Events run 7-9pm and are both indoor and outdoor. Booking essential 01425 470721.

More details moors-valley.co.uk

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20 March: BBC Stargazing Live event

Join members from the Wessex Astronomical Society for a short talk before heading outside to view the winter constellations. Telescopes available to use

on Lakeside Picnic Area. Introductory talks at 7.15pm and 8.30pm. No need to book, simply come along.

More details moors-valley.co.uk

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KINGSTON LACY

25 March: Discover the night sky from Badbury Rings.

In association with Wessex & Fordingbridge Astronomy Groups runs 7 -10pm. Free, but places limited so booking essential 01202 883402. More details nationaltrust.org.uk

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Stephen Banks - Astrophotographer

This Bridport-based landscape astrophotographer is renowned for his amazing images of Dorset’s night skies, such as the one above of Durdle Door. They have featured in The Guardian and on BBC Stargazing Live and in his calendar Dorset’s Dark Skies. Stephen suggests the following locations for the darkest night skies: Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Knowlton Church, Corfe Castle and Colmer’s Hill just outside Bridport. See more of his photography on his website dorsetscouser.com, where you can also buy images, or follow him on Twitter @DorsetScouser

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READ ON

Light up the Skies with astrophotographer Stephen Banks - The latest craze for night-time photography is proving particularly popular in Dorset because of its uniquely dark skies. This lack of light pollution has provided the launch pad for the stellar career of stargazing photographer Stephen Banks.

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