THIS year is the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) and to celebrate, Exmoor National Park Authority, in partnership with local astronomy societies, is holding a series of events to raise awareness of astronomy and the value and conservation of dark skies.
A Summer Solar Event is being held on Saturday June 27 from 2pm at The Sportsman's Inn, Sandyway, Exmoor EX36 3LU. The Sun is the closest star to Earth and is the centre of our solar system — a giant, spinning ball of very hot gas. This is a chance to learn more about our solar system and the Galaxy we call home. Phone the Sportsman's Inn on 01643 831109 to book your place.
Dunkery Beacon Moonlit Hike, takes place on Tuesday July 7. Meet at 7.30pm, Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor for 2½ hr walk (four miles).
Be guided by a National Park Ranger up the steep track to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor. Watch the sun set over the Bristol Channel and the distant mountains of Wales. Alternatively feel your way up Dunkery in thick hill fog and swirling mist and enjoy the many strange night sounds of Exmoor. Meet at Webber's Post on Exmoor, grid ref: SS904440, no booking required.
Astro Camp Out is on Saturday July 25, 8.30pm at Halse Farm, Winsford, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 7JL.
Free of charge other than the campsite payment, this is a chance to spend a night under Exmoor's beautiful dark night sky. If cloudy the event includes a presentation by a local astronomer. Contact Halse Farm on 01643 851259 to book your space and quote IYA Astro camp. firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out about events for the remainder of the year and booking, see the event posters in our National Park Centres at Lynmouth, Dunster and Dulverton or visit: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk