Posted: Tue 24th May 2022

Clwydian Range and Dee Valley’s new green mobile observatory will stargazers glimpse of night skies

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A green van is set to give local stargazers a glimpse of the night skies.

The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) has welcomed a new addition to the team to help promote the Dark Skies initiative.

Following a public consultation last year, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB is in the process of applying for Dark Sky Community status with the International Dark Sky Association.

Dark Skies status provides advice and guidance for developers and others on good lighting design in the AONB with the aim to guarantee astronomers, enthusiasts and casual observers can actually see the night sky in all its glory.

An electric powered Dark Skies van has now arrived at the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, designed to provide a perfect viewpoint of the local night sky.

The Renault Kangoo Z.E electric van which has a range of 170 miles, will be kitted out with astronomical equipment, including telescopes.

Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB staff will use the van to run Dark Skies public events across the local area to give people the opportunity to experience natural night sky.

Emlyn Jones, Denbighshire Council’s Head of Service for Countryside, said: “We have some amazing night skies in the local area and this initiative will help people get closer to them through the great facility the Dark Skies van provides.”

“We will be able to give people the opportunity to look a little deeper into the constellations and planets and hope to run a number of events throughout the year and looking out for particular astronomical events such as the perseids meteor shower in August and the geminids later in the year.”

North Wales MS Sam Rowlands said: “What a fantastic idea. This electric powered van, which will have telescopes and astronomical equipment, will provide a perfect viewpoint for people who want to see the sky at night.”

“It is an excellent initiative and I particularly like the fact the van will be used for public events so that local people in Denbighshire will be able to experience the natural night sky.

 “Whether you are a keen astronomer or just interested in looking at the constellations and planets it will offer something for everyone.”

The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB has produced a number of star gazing guides to help people find the major constellation in the night sky – they also tell some of the welsh folk stories associated with the constellations and the Welsh names of them.

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