PUPILS were reaching for the stars at Morpeth’s high school in a special event.
King Edward VI School was delighted to host a stargazing evening last month, which was attended by a number of other schools, including Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick and James Calvert Spence in Amble.
The event was led by Mel Nicholls, Ecologist for the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership (AONB) and Northumberland Astronomical Society (NASTRO).
The main feature of the evening was an excellent lecture delivered by NASTRO Chairman Dr Adrian Jannetta on space weather and light pollution.
The purpose of the AONB designation is to conserve and enhance its natural and cultural heritage. The night sky has been increasingly recognised as an important element of the experience of that heritage, but it is jeopardised by increasing light pollution, even in rural Northumberland.
The AONB Partnership is working with NASTRO to hold a series of events with high schools and the public to raise awareness of the night sky and the importance of reducing light pollution.
Mel Nichols said: “It does not mean we need to grope around in the dark. It is about lighting our buildings and spaces in a way that respects the night sky.
“The long term plan is to develop a series of Dark Sky Discovery Sites throughout the AONB and wider county. We are also liaising with Kielder Water and Forest Park, and Northumberland National Park to complement their excellent dark sky work.
“The AONB Partnership is really grateful to NASTRO for its tireless enthusiasm and to KEVI for hosting the event. We look forward to developing the relationship further with KEVI and enjoying the night sky together.”