Kielder Observatory is an astronomical attraction at Kielder Water & Forest Park run by the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society. Please visit www.kielderobservatory.org for all event bookings.
Famed for having the darkest night skies in England thanks to minimal light pollution, Kielder Water & Forest Park is a star gazers' heaven and the Observatory offers exciting opportunities for those with an interest in learning more about the night sky.
Like the deck of a ship sailing above the landscape, the Observatory provides astronomers with a permanent facility in the heart of Northumberland. It is part of the art and architecture programme that has turned the park into an open air gallery over the last ten years.
Anyone can visit the Observatory at any time and walk around the decking. However, the turrets and astronomical equipment can only be operated by fully qualified members of the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS) during specific events. Check www.kielderobservatory.org for all event listings.
Those wishing to visit during the day can park in the car park for Skyspace* (signed posted from Kielder Castle) and walk up the hill (50 minutes) - there are also excellent views of Kielder Water.
The Observatory is fantastic to visit all year round - the spectacular views are best in summer while the winter nights are darker and better for star gazing.
As part of the process of developing the Observatory project, artist Alec Finlay created 'One Hundred Year Star Diary', an astronomical diary cataloguing all major astronomical events from 2008-2108 with space for owners to write their own notes and observations on the events that they have witnessed. Finlay researched the book with professional astronomers and developed a series of visual representations for each type of event. Please see Star Diary's separate entry for more information. Information about Alec Finlay's work can be found at www.alecfinlay.com
*Skyspace is a circular room which is illuminated by a combination of natural and artificial light at different times of the day. During dawn and dusk, the changing light conditions create a rich and unforgettable display of tone and colour. Both Skyspace and the Observatory are part of the art & architecture programme at Kielder Water & Forest Park.
To reach the observatory make your way to the additional car park for the Skyspace (see map) and begin your walk from there. Distance 1 mile to the Skyspace, a further 0.5 miles to the Observatory. Please note that there is a vehicular barrier beyond the additional car park and although you can obtain a key from the Forestry Commission shop to make it possible to drive as far as the Skyspace, vehicular access after this point is restricted to times when astronomy events are being held.
The Observatory is run by the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society (KOAS) who have developed an access programme to enable people to find out more about astronomy, visit the building and use the astronomical equipment. This programme covers all levels of interest and includes both night and daytime events.
|Kielder Observatory is a venue for ...|
|Aurora Night at Kielder Observatory, Kielder(Shows & Displays)|
|Northumberland Dark Sky Park, Kielder(Great Outdoors)|
|Aurora Night, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Family Astronomy, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|A Universe Full of Stars, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Late Night Dark Skies, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Magnificent Milky Way, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|An Evening with Gary Fildes, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Saturn and the Moon, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Planets & the Search for Life, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Shooting Star Spectacular - Orionids, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Shooting Star Spectacular - Leonids, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Full Moon Party, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Shooting Star Spectacular - Geminids, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Orion; Dark Sky Hunter, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Christmas Aurora Night, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|A Year in Review, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Christmas Late Night Dark Skies, Kielder(Star gazing events)|
|Kielder Observatory is part of Kielder Art and Architecture and so are...|
|Minotaur - Nick Coombe and Shona Kitchen 2003, Kielder (Garden)|
|Janus Chairs Viewpoint, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Cat Cairn: the Kielder Skyspace - James Turrell 2000, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Kielder Observatory, Kielder (Science and Technology)|
|Kielder Column - John Maine 1999, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Mirage - Kisa Kawakami 2006, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Silvas Capitalis - SIMPARCH 2009, Hexham (Great Outdoors)|
|Janus Chairs - Ryder Architecture 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Viewpoints - Tania Kovats 1998, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Mapping mini golf, Kielder (Sport and Leisure)|
|Play Garden - Zone Architects 2006, Kielder (Sightseeing and Leisure)|
|Shadow - Julia Barton 1995, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Freya’s Cabin - Studio Weave 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Belvedere - Softroom Architects 1999, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|55-02 - Sixteen (makers) 2009, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Wave Chamber - Chris Drury 1996, Kielder (Great Outdoors)|
|Stell - Colin Wilbourn 2006, Falstone (Great Outdoors)|
|Type||Entry for||Guide price|
Car parking available
Events must be booked in advance
Open all year
Ticket booking essential
Amazing time on Jupiter Night
I booked tickets for Jupiter night 3 months in advance to ensure we got a place. The weather on the day was very overcast so hopes of actually seeing Jupiter were pretty low. However over the course of the event the sky cleared up enough that we got to see Jupiter, it's four Galilaean Moons *and* Saturn! The staff - Gary, Haydon, Becky, and Matt - were all wonderful to chat to and gave a huge amount of really interesting information about all things space. No question went unanswered! We even got to view meteorites under microscopes, hold a large pieces of meteorite from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, hold a tiny fragment of Martian rock, and touch a piece of Earth's moon! We will definitely be returning to the observatory, perhaps sometime in the autumn, when the skies are darker. The lighter sky didn't impact visibility of the planets too much, I just feel it would be an even more phenomenal experience in true darkness. After all, Kielder Observatory is in one of the largest parts of protected dark sky in the world - it would be a shame not to go when it's dark and appreciate it fully. I would personally recommend a visit to the observatory to anyone - one of the telescopes is accessible via a ramp and the other is up some stairs and the staff are very accommodating. There isn't really a waiting area or anything should you arrive early, but there's a pub in Kielder village (The Angler's Arms which takes card for payments over £10 and has wifi) where you can get food and drinks. There is a hot drinks break during the event and some snacks and merchandise are available for purchase on the night. I'm not sure whether the observatory itself has a card machine though. All in all, an utterly outstanding event. Thank you all so much for giving us all a great time!
Astronomy at its best
thecraftshouse, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
What an amazing experience. ...The welcome,knowledge,atmosphere,view,equipment all worked together to give a wonderful evening. My husband LOVES astronomy and this was his birthday....He LOVED it....I am a total novice and came away excited about stars and planets. We got to view Jupiter and 2 of its moons. Hoping we get to go back in October for Milky Way. I highly recommend booking a visit here
Not to be missed
We had a great time - ok it wasn't the clearest night but it was amazing seeing Jupiter and the communication satellite when it flashed in the sky. The staff are knowledgeable and very entertaining and made the hours go by. It June it doesn't really get dark but you learn so much and your never bored Loved seeing and feeling the meteorites If you're in the area do go but bring lots of midge spray they were out in force - and layer up
Mind. Blown. Go! Go Now!
ryanalexward, Leeds, United Kingdom
We came up from Leeds to this wondrously dark part of England for a talk on the Aurora and to have a gander at some of those space things as well. Let me tell you, I've never been so amazed at what I was shown. The childlike joy of seeing Jupiter and Saturn with mine own eye, the viewings of star clusters, binary systems and even the Andromeda galaxy took my breath away. After these viewings, we adjourned for the talk on the Aurora, supplemented with a hot chocolate and a Galaxy Ripple. Now, to be clear, Kielder Observatory is a charity. Given the incredible sights I saw, I'm more than happy to pay to go to talks and be given the privilege of seeing some of the wonders of the universe. But more than that, there was the moment that I bought a mug. It was put forward to me that I could buy one for £3.50 and it'd be supporting the observatory. I've seen some people in their reviews take umbrage at this but to them I say: 'you're at an observatory, stop being so short sighted'. If me buying a mug can help subsidise somebody else's learning experience and keep people in a job, I'd buy a full dinner set if I could. So please consider the long term impact a simple mug purchase has on the future of this incredible place and the impact you could have on the next group of people lucky enough to visit. For me, The Moon was the jewel in the crown. The Aurora talk was incredibly informative and everything was explained in a way I could understand it (and I wasn't allowed to do physics at school after a certain point). We broke off at 2am to see The Moon coming up. We got ourselves a Blood Moon as well, appearing over the impenetrable blackness of the landscape. Really demonstrated how dark it is there. Back inside to finish the Aurora talk. I'll admit, I was pretty tired by this point (it'd been a long day) but our second outing to view The Moon through the telescopes. Cue the scene from Scanners where the guy's head explodes... Unbelievable. To see that much detail, the richness of it, was breathtaking. The level of excitement between me and my girlfriend was far beyond expectation. In the car back, despite all the lethargy that was setting in, we were buzzing with excitement. I can't believe we saw The Moon. We got some great pictures as well which have stunned our family and friends. The staff were very knowledgeable and very accommodating. Go anytime of year. Don't worry about the weather, there'll be plenty on offer to learn about. The building itself is a beautifully minimal structure, unobtrusive in the wilderness of the borderlands. I can't wait to go again. Thank you Kielder Observatory.
Great fun despite the cloud
Went up on Friday night for the Aurora night. Unfortunately there was heavy cloud so no aurora could be seen. However the team were fantastic. The three hours flew by with informative talks and a great cuppa. What impressed me most was the enthusiasm of the team, you can tell they are so passionate about the observatory and that helps you take information in so easily, even at 3am. And to top it off the cloud cleared and moon made a cheeky appearance. It the words of of the staff 'we have moonage'. We got some brilliant photos of the moon and will definitely return.
Kielder Observatory replied: Delighted that you had a good night and we are fortunate in having such an enthusiastic and committed team of staff and volunteers. We look forward to welcoming you back perhaps in the Autumn / Winter months which is obviously a very different experience. Best wishes