Telescopes at the ready for UK's largest star party

9/18/2008

Star gazers from all over the country will be flocking to the Autumn Equinox Sky camp at Kelling Heath Holiday Park in North Norfolk, on Saturday 27th September, for some celestial entertainment at the UK’s largest star party. 

Over 500 amateur astronomers and intrigued general public will be drawn to the 250 acre Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at Weybourne, which is famed for being blessed with the clearest and darkest skies in the country, to enjoy crystal clear views of our planetary neighbours and elusive galaxies. 

Richard Deighton from Loughton Astronomical Society, the star party organisers, said: “We choose Kelling Heath because it is one of the best sites in the UK for star gazing due to the very low levels of light pollution. This is thanks to there being few dense urban areas which omit a great deal of light and there is also very little industrial activity which produces atmospheric gasses and clouds the view of the stars.”
Now in its 14th year, the event outgrew its original location of Thetford Forest in Norfolk and upped sticks in 2004 to its current home at Kelling Heath Holiday Park which provides a natural environment with award winning facilities and an electricity supply to every camping pitch. Vital to fuel the high powered telescopes brought by many visitors. 

As well as star gazing, visitors will also be able to hear informative talks from leading academics in the field of astronomy plus astronomers of all levels can pick up bargain second hand equipment at the ‘Astro Boot’.
Kelling Heath park manager Mark Durrant commented: “The star party has proven to be a great success, many people book months in advance and almost all the pitches are now booked up, including the two camping areas devoted exclusively to the astronomers. We also welcome non-residents to come along and witness the amazing views for free”. 

Mark Thompson, Chairman of Norwich Astronomical Society and star party attendee said: “It’s a fantastic event not just for keen astronomers but also those who are interested in taking a closer look and learning a bit more about the sky above. Astronomers are a friendly bunch and always happy to offer advice to those first-time star gazers.” 

He continued: “Visitors this year can be sure to get great views of Jupiter which is very prominent just as the sun sets and will be the brightest star due east.”

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