Dark Skies

Picture: star trails over Barnack

There’s a very special and unique event for Langdyke in December when we host a dark skies evening, weather permitting, at Castor Hanglands.

What makes this event – starting at 7pm on Thursday, December 13 – more special is that it is timed to hopefully allow perfect views of the spectacular Geminid meteor shower. The shower will reach its maximum rate of activity the following evening on December 14, meaning the timing of the Langdyke event couldn’t be better. Some shooting stars associated with the shower are expected to be visible each night from December 7 to 16.

Annual meteor showers arise when the Earth passes through streams of debris left behind by comets and asteroids. As pebble-sized pieces of debris collide with the Earth, they burn up at an altitude of around 70 to 100 km, appearing as shooting stars.

Experts predict the maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 100 per hour.

However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower than this, but worthwhile all the same.

Perseid meteors and a satellite over Barnack August 2018 Click picture to enlarge

Numbers attending the event are limited. so if you would like to attend please book your place by email to Richard Perkins at rvynerp@btinternet.com

Don’t forget to bring a torch with you if you attend the event. Entrance is through the gate on the Helpston road.

Directions to Castor Hanglands.

From Ailsworth take the Helpston road north (over the Castor bypass). In about 1.5 miles turn left through the black, double metal gates and go down a track for 200 metres to the Forestry Commission part of Castor Hanglands. The track veers left, but keep going straight ahead for another 100 metres. At the gate are the Natural England buildings which is where cars can be parked.

Your contacts for the event will be Mike Horne and Richard Perkins

Castor Hanglands is a Natural England Reserve.