Event Diary

Gain an out of this world experience at stargazing events


STARFEST 2021 - Cranborne Chase Dark Skies Festival will run from 15 to 20 February 2021

We have an exciting line up with a mix of online and, we hope, live events. Full details can be found here.

The full timetable of events for ‘StarFest’:

Introduction to Stargazing with Steve Tonkin - Monday 15 February at 7.30pm. This is a beginner’s guide to stargazing with tips on good Apps to use and how to use a simple ‘Planisphere’ to help you understand the night sky. Join Steve on Zoom. Tickets are free. Book here.

Grow your business with Dark Sky Tourism with Richard Darn - Tuesday 16 February at 7.30pm. Astro tourism is booming. Since Cranborne Chase became an International Dark Sky Reserve in 2019 there is a real opportunity for businesses in the area to make the most of new markets thanks to this new status. This is a free session for businesses. Book here.

Sketch the moon and make your own star constellation with Mary McIntyre - Wednesday 17 February at 4pm. Learn how to draw the moon and make your own star constellations with this fun, online art activity, suitable for ages 7+. Mary is an amateur astronomer and if a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Book here.

Astrophotography – create your own star trails with Mary McIntyre – Wednesday 17 February at 7.30pm. You see stunning star trails everywhere but how do you do them? Join astrophotographer, Mary McIntyre who will teach you how on this step-by-step Zoom workshop. Book here.

Ask an Astronomer – Q&A Session with Steve Tonkin on Thursday 18 February at 4pm. Astronomer, Steve Tonkin will be on Facebook Live @cranbornechaseaonb for this Q&A session. Ask your questions in advance on tune in live and find out why Mars is called Mars…?

What Future for Dark Skies? Thursday 18 February at 7.30pm. Bob Mizon MBE will be discussing our dark skies and how he has spent his life trying to turn back the tide on light pollution. Bob is co-ordinator of the Royal Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies. Book here.

Make me an Astronaut Live – Saturday 20 February at 10.30am with Jo Richardson. This event is £5 and promises to be great fun for all those budding astronauts out there. Suitable for ages 4-11. Jo Richardson is one of 10 UK Space Ambassadors and represents the South West, working on behalf of ESERO-UK (European Space Education Office) which is part of the National STEM Learning Centre and funded by the European Space Agency and other partners. In 2018, Jo was awarded a BIS Sir Arthur Clarke Space Achievement Award for working within the Tim Peake Primary Project Outreach and Education Team. Jo is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, London. Book here.

Storytelling - Star Walk Stories with Lizzie Bryant on Saturday 20 February at 7.30pm. Lizzie digs into her treasure trove of stories to bring you her adventures in the night sky. A great way to end our StarFest 2021. Join Lizzie - book here.



Stargazing Evenings

Our stargazing evenings have proved incredibly popular, with many night sky enthusiasts turning up to find out about some of the hundreds of spectacular constellations in the pristine night skies above Cranborne Chase AONB. These are on hold due to Covid-19 restrictions but we hope to have a full timetable up and running in 2021. Local astronomers from Wessex Astronomical Society normally attend along with our resident astronomer, Steve Tonkin, to share their knowledge and impart their enthusiasm. These events are family-friendly.

Additional information: all stargazing events commence at 7pm and last for around two to two-and-a-half hours, depending on weather conditions. The cost for adults is £5 each (cash or cheque on the night/includes a free tea or coffee), with no charge for children. Please book in advance, tel: 01725 517417, or email: