To celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, Northumberland Tourism have been running a stargazing photography competition since October which aims to find an image that encapsulates the beauty of a truly dark sky.
The popularity of stargazing in Northumberland has soared over recent years, particularly since the sky above Northumberland National Park and Kielder Water & Forest Park was awarded Gold tier designation in 2013 by the International Dark Sky Association.
Guided events at Kielder Observatory are often sold-out in advance, with the Observatory recently winning Small Visitor Attraction of the Year at the 2015 North East England Tourism Awards; and astronomy events are held throughout the National Park. Accommodation providers have been swift to add to the stargazing offering, ensuring they are Dark Sky Friendly.
Outside the Northumberland Dark Sky Park, Battlesteads Hotel and Restaurant has recently added an observatory; the North Pennines AONB has many Dark Sky Discovery Sites; and the Northumberland Coast AONB has become one of the top UK destinations for spotting the Aurora Borealis.
All of this can be seen in the current 2015 Dark Skies Photography Competition. It has proved extremely popular, with many breath-taking images entered. They will be judged by a panel of tourism experts, and the photographer with the winning image will receive a group ticket for a Family Astronomy night at Kielder Observatory.
Thanks to the huge popularity of images that have been shown on social media channels so far, Northumberland Tourism has decided to extend the chances of winning with the introduction of a separate ‘People’s Choice’ Award. From Tuesday 1st December, all of the entries will be gathered into a photo gallery on Facebook for you to cast your votes until Friday 4th December.
One lucky voter will receive two tickets to a stargazing night at Battlesteads Observatory.
The results of the competition will be announced on Wednesday 9th December
The photography competition closes at midnight on Monday 30th November. Any last minute entries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and include information of where and when you took them.