Sutton Bank Dark Skies Festival 2021

Report by Freda Rockliffe


The North Yorkshire Moors Dark Skies Festival held at Sutton Bank (Thirsk) on Saturday 29 October 2021 was a very successful event. It was held in the Visitors Centre and Car Park, which was fully booked with numbers restricted to 60 members of the public.

VisitorCentre1 VisitorCentre2

The York Astronomical Society (YAS) members turned up in force and there were 12 telescopes set up in the West car park. Venus graced us by shining brightly as the sun set. Although there were heavy clouds over Sutton Bank initially, they cleared by 8:00 pm to reveal a spectacularly sparkling dark sky. Jupiter with her moons and Saturn were clearly visible and the Milky Way was a wonderful milky band overhead.

Viewpoint VeilNebula

Everyone enjoyed observing the range of targets amongst them; The planets, Milky Way, Andromeda, Pleiades, the Hercules Globular cluster M13. YAS members demonstrated constellations with laser pointers and explained the various technologies of their gear, including imaging with ASiair controlled cameras.

M27_Dumbbell NGC884_Double_Cluster

In the Visitors Centre, Martin Whipp from the Limetree Observatory (Ripon) gave an interesting talk aimed at families about The Autumn Skies, explaining how to star-hop around constellations and use of various equipment. Graham Moore followed up with a talk entitled Moving out, a stunning presentation of DSO images taken by YAS members and an amusing comparison with NASA images of the same objects.

Jezero_Carter EastVeil

Many thanks to all who participated in this memorable evening. Everyone enjoyed the event thoroughly and YAS members have been invited to host it again next year (2022).

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