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Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Shines Bright with Annual Dark Sky Festival

Welsh Dark Sky

Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, renowned for its pristine night skies and designation as a Dark Sky Reserve, is set to once again captivate stargazers and nature enthusiasts at its annual Dark Sky Festival on Saturday, 23rd September.

Nestled within breathtaking landscape, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park has long been celebrated for its commitment to preserving the wonders of the night sky by minimizing light pollution. The Dark Sky Festival serves as a stellar testament to this commitment, offering a day of celestial exploration and nocturnal adventures.

Highlights of the festival include:

Heaven’s gift – Our Ice Age Landscape (walk)
10.30-13:00 (£3.00)
Step back in time to walk across Mynydd Illtud common to Twyn y Gaer hillfort to experience Iron Age and Bronze Ages with Alan Bowring, Geopark Officer.

Planetarium shows in the indoor planetarium
11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm (£7.00)
Using a state-of-the-art multimedia planetarium the wonders of the night sky will be shown in amazing detail.

Presentation – How bats mastered the night skies and why humans may ultimately cause their downfall
11:00-11:45 (£3.00)

Presentation – Choosing and using binoculars
12:00-12:45 (£3.00)
Binoculars are a hugely versatile & effective tool for those just starting stargazing and experienced astronomers alike.

Presentation – Meteorites and the story of the Solar system
14:00-14:45 (£3.00)
You will have the opportunity to see and handle specimens of space rocks that are over 4.7 billion years old.

Heaven’s gift – Our Ice Age landscape (walk)
14:00-16:30 (£3.00)
Step back in time to walk across Mynydd Illtud common to Twyn y gaer hillfort to experience Iron Age and Bronze Ages with Alan Bowring, Geopark Officer. 

Presentation – The Planet Mercury
15:00-15:45 (£3.00)
Did you know that if you lived on Planet Mercury you’d have a birthday every three months, come and learn more about this little-known planet. 

Dark Skies Festival Hike from the National Park Visitor Centre
An opportunity to explore the Brecon Beacons at night with a fully qualified Mountain Guide and Dark Skies Ambassador as part of the Dark Skies Festival. During the evening we will explore Mynydd Illtud and Twyn y Gaer.

Presentation – The Science of Dr. Who
19:00-19:45 (£7.50)
All good science-fiction is fun…but is any of it possible, followed at 8pm with outdoor observation using telescopes and binoculars with the Usk & Cardiff astronomical societies. 

Classical Myths
19:00-20:00 £12.00
Award-winning storyteller and writer DANIEL MORDEN tells timeless and magical traditional stories of the constellations.

Presentation – The Artemis mission to the moon
20:00-20:45 (£7.50)
Prior to the talk (19:00-19:45) you can take part in stargazing with telescopes & binoculars with the Usk & Cardiff astronomical societies.

All day free event: Solar Gazing with Cardiff Astronomical Society
Come and view our nearest star (the Sun) SAFELY through specialist and purposely designed telescopes. All life on Earth depends on it!

Paddle Boarding with Martin Williams
22nd & 23rd 19:00-20:00
Explore the Brecon Beacons Dark Sky Reserve after dark from
the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal, on a night paddle with Outdoor Explore Wales.

Bat Walk
22nd & 23rd 19:00 (£10.00)
Come along to spend a bit of your evening learning about bats in Brecon from a local bat ecologist! 

“We are thrilled to host the annual Dark Sky Festival in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park,” said Carol Williams, Sustainable Tourism Officer. “This event not only celebrates our commitment to preserving the beauty of the night sky but also provides an educational and awe-inspiring experience for attendees of all ages.”

As one of the few International Dark Sky Reserves in the world, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park offers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with the cosmos and discover the magic of our universe without the interference of urban light pollution.

Visitors are encouraged to bring warm clothing and a sense of wonder as they gather under the National Park’s star-studded canopy. The Dark Sky Festival promises to be an unforgettable celebration of nature’s most mesmerizing light show.

The Bannau Brycheiniog Dark Sky Festival takes place on Saturday 23rd September, and is open to all. For more information, including event details and ticketing information, please visit breconbeacons.org/stargazing.