As Autumn approaches and the evenings start to draw in, so Marlborough’s Dark Skies festival gets closer as well. Postponed last October due to Covid the rearranged and enlarged festival will run from 25 October and culminate over the weekend of 30/31 October with a complete skyline of talks and activities, headlined by keynote speaker Professor Chris Lintott (BBC Sky at Night, University of Oxford) at The Marlborough College Memorial Hall on the Saturday afternoon.
To find out more about the festival, what’s happening, who’s speaking, where, and to buy tickets, click here.
It’s very much a family focused festival. More than forty separate events – not all at night when the light has gone from the sky – it’s also to give younger members of the community a bit of a window on to what’s going on up there, a bit of inspiration. As well, of course, as us older ones too.
One of the major features this year will be the ‘Museum of the Moon‘ – a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram – joining the festival line up. This will be an opportunity to get up close to the Moon!
This will be an opportunity to experience this incredible seven-metre inflated moon hanging in the stunning chapel at Marlborough college. The installation is a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound created by UK artist Luke Jerram and award winning composer Dan Jones. A free event but booking will be essential to ensure places are reserved.
Many other activities will be on offer, including trips to the top of the St Peter’s Church tower, what promises to be a magical tour to a place where Marlborough can be seen in a very different way, as well as being a perfect location from which to look up and gaze at the night sky. On the way to the top, guide Jeremy York will stop off at the Priest’s Room, the Ringing Chamber/Museum and the Clock Room and give a fascinating anecdotal history of St Peter’s, including about Cardinal Wolsey for whom a blue plaque is affixed to the wall of the Church adjacent to the main entrance. This tour will cost £2.00 per person and will definitely need to be booked well in advance.
See the stars up close – or in greater detail that even a pair of binoculars could offer by taking a stargazing trip to Marlborough College’s ‘Blackett Observatory’, with advice and commentary from Charles Barclay, Director of the Blackett Observatory.
Overall Marlborough’s Dark Skies Festival will be a rare and valuable opportunity to see and learn about the night sky, what’s up there, what happens and all from a location where the light pollution is relatively low so the sky is brighter and seen that much more clearly.
The Dark Skies Festival is run with financial help from The Arts Council England, The Royal Astronomical Society, The British Astronomical Association, The Nineveh Charitable Trust and Wiltshire Council – Local Youth Network. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the night sky around Marlborough, a rural town in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and inspire both visitors and locals about keeping our dark skies dark!
The Festival is being run by Marlborough Town Council, in partnership with the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Marlborough College.
To take full advantage of what’s on offer, much of which will be free but – because of space and numbers of people wanting to be involved, booking for (most) events will be necessary, so to book tickets and reserve places click here.