The Milky Way should be visible from Danby. Photo: Paul Taylor

The Milky Way should be visible from Danby. Photo: Paul Taylor

A star party will take place to celebrate the new dark skies status of a national park visitor centre.

North York Moors National Park Authority’s Danby centre will host the event, the culmination of a week of activities that began today.

The authority said: “With its low light pollution and good public access, the former shooting lodge at Danby has been identified as a Milky Way-class dark skies discovery site by the Dark Sky Discovery Initiative.

“The announcement is a further boost to the astro tourism activities across the North York Moors.”

The Whitby and District Astronomical Society supported the nomination for Danby, which now joins Sutton Bank national park centre, together with Dalby Forest as official dark sky discovery sites where the Milky Way can potentially be visible to the naked eye.

The Yorkshire Dark Skies Festival kicked off today, Monday, with a range of stargazing and nocturnal events both in the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales national parks.

Danby’s new special status will be earmarked for celebration during the festival’s star party on the evening of Saturday 21 February, with stargazing talks, expert advice, craft activities and telescope-making on the programme.

Michael Graham, assistant director of park services at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: “The location of the visitor centre just outside the village of Danby makes it an ideal spot for visitors to step outside and simply look skywards to see the beauty of the stars.

“With Danby on the northern side of the national park, Sutton Bank towards Thirsk and Dalby Forest on the way to Scarborough, we now have three fantastic official sites that people can easily reach to go on a celestial safari.”

Details of how to book for the star party and other information on the Yorkshire Dark Skies Festival are on the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales websites.

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