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The work of the late astronomer, Sir Patrick Moore, will live on through Dark Sky Places

Astronomers around the world have been saddened by the death of British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore at the age of 89 at his home in Selsey, West Sussex. Well known for his record breaking TV program, The Sky at Night and other television appearances he was one of Britain’s treasured celebrities, he inspired a nation of star lovers and he encouraged the current generation of professional and amateur astronomers.

We’ve no doubt his work will live on, especially with the growth of importance of the Dark Sky Places. The UK boasts some of the largest areas of dark skies within Europe. Although not officially recognised by The International Dark Sky Association, the Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of the special places in the UK that has all the key ingredients to make it one of the UK’s star gazing hot spots.

The Yorkshire Dales covers 1800 square kilometres and has a comparatively low population of around 20,000 people, thus the light and air pollution is minimal. There are many elevated points due to the dales and moors, which are often accessible by car and offer panoramic uninterrupted views due to the relatively treeless moors.

In the Yorkshire Dales you can star gaze from pretty much any location, as long as the night sky is clear all you need to do is look up. The night sky changes often, depending on the different seasonal constellations. This means that if you have visited in the summer the sky will appear different in the winter, autumn and spring…so it is always worth returning for another look. If you would like to learn more about what stars you are looking at while you are stargazing you can download your pocket star chart here.

The star filled sky of the Yorkshire dales is a sight to behold, but there is fear that this natural wonder will be less visible as the bright lights from surrounding cities and towns blot out the stars. Let’s hope something can be done – in the mean time Happy Stargazing!!

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