Our next Dark Sky event is on October 21st 2017

It is expected to follow a similar programme to February 25th - see this event flier.

Our previous Dark Sky event was on February 25th, from approx 4 to 7:30pm
You can also download our Astronomical Calendar showing what to look out for at LGFC during 2017.

There will be talks for adults and children and activities for children plus telescopes to view the planets and stars (weather permitting), so please bring the whole family. As usual we will be providing soup and parkin for all visitors. If it is really cold then there is always the lounge with a real fire to get warmed up again.

There is no charge for the event but any donations to cover the cost are welcome.

If you intend to come please let the warden know so that we have an idea of numbers to cater for - please ring our Warden Ellen, on 01946-861229 or via email warden@lgfc.org.uk.

LGFC is a Dark Sky Discovery Site

Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre is now an accredited Dark Sky Discovery site, part of the UK Dark Sky Discovery Partnership, and the first in North-West England. This is a network of national, local astronomy and environmental organisations which aims to:

Visit the Dark Sky Discovery Homepage
  • Engage people from diverse backgrounds with the night sky;
  • Encourage positive attitudes towards science and technology;
  • Support the development of dark sky places, awareness and tourism;
  • Develop a national network of dark sky communicators;
  • Create long-lasting organisational partnerships in this area.

The Dark Sky Discovery England funders are:-

Dark Sky discovery sites are seen as being the best locations from which to observe the natural beauty of our night sky, one of nature's principle wonders. There are few of these around the country and Gillerthwaite is the accredited Dark Sky venue in Cumbria for North West England. Its absence of municipal lighting in a mountainous setting enables the most spectacular night sky sights in a light pollution free zone.

The Dark Sky project was inspired by the successful Dark Sky Scotland partnership which has been in operation since 2009 at Galloway Forest Park.

Most of us live in a permanently polluted night sky where starlight cannot compete with its terrestrial sodium glare. This isolates us from one of nature's principle wonders. It's estimated that seventy percent of us have never seen the Milky Way. Here at Low Gillerthwaite, we are endowed with the most spectacular night skies in England and, weather permitting, it can be seen as an endless, illuminated band of countless, twinkling stars across our night sky.

All this can help facilitate existing learning opportunities for young people in particular to appreciate the wonders of the universe and our place in it. It also benefits the local communities, astronomical societies and many others including photographers, poets and dreamers through night sky observation.

Dark Sky Discovery programme for 2017

Two events are planned this year, Feb 25th and Oct 21st. Aspects of each event relating to star lab and Wolfson room presentations will commence mid to late afternoon subject to age group and visitor numbers. Visitors are welcome to bring their own viewing equipment, although a range of binoculars and telescopes are available at the centre. The events each Saturday will feature the Science and Technology Facilities Council's planetarium which can hold over forty people. Staged in the unusual setting of our eighteenth century barn, visitors will see a rotating illustration of our Universe and our place in it projected on to its domed walls and takes the opportunity to ask questions of Alan Brown. A lively discussion session always takes place where visitors can deliberate on any aspect of the presentation. The Cockermouth Astronomical Society will also be in attendance giving their popular, highly informative digital presentations in our large, heated class room. In all events visitors will have the chance to mix freely with and ask questions of local, knowledgeable and expert astronomers. There will also be activities for the younger ones, making up star umbrellas for example and turning the meadow into a model planetarium. All of this is built in to support the main event which of course is to observe our spectacular night sky and can be extended to provide further interest in the event of poor weather.

To help keep out the cold, hot drinks, soup and parkin will be provided.

Visitors wishing to stay overnight in our self-catering, hostel accommodation will be welcome and charged at the standard rates. Please visit our bookings page and book ahead with the Warden. This will be helpful so as to give some idea of numbers in advance. Remember to bring a sleeping bag, provisions, stout footwear and please wrap up warm. If this is your first visit to LGFC, please read these additional notes.

For more up to date information keep your eye on the web page and visit the BBC Stargazing Live pages.

We look forward to seeing you.

Stargazing is best done before the moon is full, so here are some future New Moon dates :-

2017 - Jan 28, Feb 26, Mar 28, Apr 26, May 25, Jun 24, Jul 23, Aug 21, Sep 20, Oct 19, Nov 18, Dec 18
2018 - Jan 17, Feb 15, Mar 17, Apr 16, May 15, Jun 13, Jul 13, Aug 11, Sep 9, Oct 9, Nov 7, Dec 7

These dates obtained from www.timeanddate.com


Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre, Ennerdale, Cleator
Cumbria, CA23 3AX

Go to GoogleMaps
  • Tel : 01946 861229
  • Email : warden@lgfc.org.uk
  • Grid Ref : NY139141
  • Latitude : 54.5148 (N)
    Longitude : -3.3313 (W)

Click on image to enlarge it.

View of Orion from LGFC - notice how many other stars are visible! Orion from LGFC

Example of a star umbrella Louis & Felix from Wigton, Cumbria

An STFC Starlab in our barn Starlab inside barn

Ennerdale Lake and Angler's Crag on a still, clear evening Ennerdale evening