Dark Skies Cumbria

Light up February with a spectacular array of online events celebrating the wonders of our night sky

Live events over 17 evenings in February give you the opportunity to explore our dark skies with astronomers, astrophotographers, authors, filmmakers, lighting and design professionals, performers, poets and outdoor adventurers.

Book Now for individual event information and booking options. We've also produced this handy little leaflet which you can download as a reminder of what's in a line-up which we think is out of this world!

(View / Download Festival Line-Up - pdf)


Saving Our Night Skies

Cumbria's dark skies allow us to see the natural wonder of the stars, but are also critical for the health wildlife and our own natural well-being. Sadly light pollution in Cumbria is increasing each year, threatening to obscure our view of the stars and blinding and confusing animals so they can’t feed or find a mate. We need urgent action now to stop light pollution. Stargazers, photographers, wildlife lovers and local communities… please help.

     

Or you can give by text to 70085. Just message DARKSKIES along with your chosen donation amount (eg DARKSKIES 5 to donate £5). Standard message rates apply.

The Lake District and Cumbria offers some of the most spectacular and precious skyscapes in England and we want you to join us on an interstellar adventure. Download our Dark Sky Discovery Pack and get started today!

We know in stark contrast to the comprehensive legislation covering air, noise and water pollution, powers to control and prevent light pollution are very limited and highly discretionary. Decisions on new lighting are piecemeal, where lots of individual, cumulative additional lighting is being added on a daily basis, causing ever increasing sky glow light pollution.(1)

A French Decree and Regulation passed in 2018 applies to all outdoor lighting installations. This sets for the first time meaningful national regulations: “… designed to prevent, limit and reduce light pollution, including excessive disturbance to persons, fauna, flora or ecosystems, causing energy wastage or preventing observation of the night sky.”(2)

The regulations are being phased in from the 1 January this year, and compliance with all of the Decree’s provisions is mandatory by the start of 2025.

Bob Mizon, Coordinator at the UK Commission for Dark Skies (CfDS)(3) says:

“Since the 1950s, as the night sky began to be eroded by poor quality lighting, guidelines from lighting professionals, environmental campaigners and astronomers have failed to solve the problems that stray light causes in both the night sky and the terrestrial environment. Opportunities involving the new LED lights, which could have gone a long way towards a solution, have been missed. Our best hope is in legislation on the French model, and efficient enforcement of it.”

Jack Ellerby, Cumbria’s Dark Skies Project Officer, attended the newly established Dark Sky Areas liaison group for England and Wales at the beginning of August. Working with partners, such as CPRE The Countryside Charity, the CfDS and the Institute for Lighting Professionals, the group will look at strengthening national guidance for light pollution to improve clarity, consistency and promote better practice for dark sky compliant lighting.

(1). https://www.friendsofthelakedistrict.org.uk/powers-to-limit-light-pollution

(2). See: https://www.darksky.org/france-light-pollution-law-2018/

(3). CfDS website: https://britastro.org/dark-skies/index.php