Elan Valley celebrates National Astronomy Week

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Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s Elan Valley rangers are celebrating National Astronomy Week (March 1-8) by offering visitors the chance to observe the wonder of the solar system in the picturesque Elan Valley.

With some of the darkest skies in the UK, this remote part of Mid Wales is the perfect location for amateur astronomers to watch an array of fascinating astronomical objects gathering in the night sky.

This year’s National Astronomy Week celebrates Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system as it reaches its highest point in the sky for many years.

The event at the Elan Valley will be held on Saturday, March 8, weather permitting. This follows on from a very successful stargazing meeting in January. Visitors of all ages are welcome and should bring along their own telescopes and binoculars and meet at the visitor centre at 7.30pm to start at 8pm. To book a place or for further information, please call 01597 810 880.

Local astronomer, Allan Trow, manager at Dark Sky Wales, said: “The darkness of the Elan Valley’s skies allows astronomers of all abilities to easily locate the planets. Using binoculars they will be able to see the four Gallilean satellites and telescopes will reveal the beautiful equatorial banding of mighty Jupiter.

“By spending the night in the valley, or even a visit just before dawn, will allow observers to view several more planets such as Mars, Saturn and Venus.”

Alan Samuel, Elan Valley head ranger, said: “This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in astronomy to come along and enjoy the beauty of the night sky.  We are very proud of our dark skies here in the Elan Valley and they provide an excellent location to view the solar system.  Preserving them is hugely important in protecting wildlife and the natural environment.”

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