Starmakers wanted ahead of annual Dark Skies Festival

The dark skies above Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park is running a Starmakers initiative to recruit and develop a band of expert astro-guides to meet the booming interest in stargazing and the night sky.

With the Dark Skies Festival now an annual fixture following the popularity of the first two events and a rising level of enquiries about other stargazing evenings throughout the autumn and winter months, the national park is keen to train more people who can share and explain the beauty of the night sky happenings with visitors.

A Starmakers programme has been established to provide astronomy and presentation skills so that more events can be held throughout both the Yorkshire Dales an North York Moors national parks, plus the two areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the Howardian Hills and Nidderdale.

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Initially, the national parks are looking for 12 Starmakers who will then support accommodation providers and local communities to host ticketed astronomy events.

The weekend’s training in 2018 will include practical and theoretical astronomy presentation techniques aimed at navigating the night sky with the naked eye as well as using a telescope. Customer service and tips on running events for different audiences will also be included.

The training is free with the only proviso being that candidates deliver two sessions for the North York Moors National Park on a voluntary basis after which rates will be paid at an agreed amount with the candidates who will then also be able to run sessions themselves or set up business relationships with other venues at any time.


Tracey Lambert, tourism officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park adds: “Ideally our budding Starmakers need to have some experience in astronomy and star gazing but more importantly they need  a passion for the night sky to join our team as full training and mentoring will be given. In return all we ask is a commitment to help deliver some of the events.”

The first tranche of astro-guides will help support the fourth Dark Skies Festival to be held in February 2019.

The 2018 Festival is set to take place between 9-25 February with more than 100 events – from sporty endeavours through to family star spotting and crafting activities – showing the plethora of ways that people can enjoy and get the most out of the beauty of the national parks’ dark skies.

For further information on the Starmakers programme and the festival go to

1 Comment

  1. As an amateur astronomer for nearly 45 years ,and a member of the Earby Astronomical Society and Earby Camera Club. And for the past 18 years I have been been in a wheelchair. I like doing astrophotography with both my telescope. And camera lens on a small tracking mount. Would I been in a wheelchair be of any help in helping out in one of your venues near to me in Barnoldswick.

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