Interest in the night sky has been growing in recent years, with popular TV series such as Professor Brian Cox’s Wonders of…, as well as the BBC’s long running Sky at Night. However, our ability to enjoy, understand and research the universe is negatively impacted by the growing problem of light pollution.
Dark Sky Festivals now take place in several National Parks across the UK, and the International Dark Sky Places programme has over 130 protected areas across the globe to start to address the problem. It was hoped to run a Marlborough Dark Skies Festival last year, but with COVID-19 that had to be moved to a virtual programme of talks and events, including two online lectures by Mr Barclay FRAS, our Head of Astronomy and the Director of the College’s Blackett Observatory.
This year, the College is delighted to be partnering with Marlborough Town Council and the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to host the first action-packed Marlborough Dark Skies Fest.
Marlborough will be the location for a fun festival of events opening on Monday 25th October 2021 and culminating in a jam-packed programme on the weekend of the 30th–31st of science and art activities celebrating the night sky. The Blackett Observatory will be running tours and talks and the key note speech by BBC’s The Sky at Night presenter, Professor Chris Lintott, will take place in the Memorial Hall. The College is also hosting the Museum of the Moon, a breathtaking touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram, which will be displayed in the College’s beautiful Gothic Revival Chapel (1886). Events across the week and weekend will stretch throughout the day and into the evening at a variety of indoor and outdoor venues across the town.
The Marlborough Dark Skies Festival hopes to set people on a journey of discovery and future action to preserve dark skies and Marlborough College is proud to be playing its part.