Chance to learn the secrets of the night sky

STARRY NIGHTS: Members of Sunderland Astronomical Society at a previous event.
STARRY NIGHTS: Members of Sunderland Astronomical Society at a previous event.
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UNCOVER the dark secrets of the night sky at a series of free stargazing events.

To coincide with this week’s BBC Stargazing Live programmes, Sunderland Astronomical Society is inviting people along to its Cygnus Observatory at WWT Washington.

Everyone is invited along to take advantage of the society’s powerful telescopes at the events, which take place on Friday and Saturday night.

Paul Meade, of the Sunderland Astronomical Society, said: “The events will start from 6.30pm and go on until late in the evening. There will be plenty of telescopes for members of the public to come and view the sights of their universe.

“The events are being run later in the year than usual to coincide with a solar eclipse on the morning of the 20th. This is when the moon passes in front of the sun and blocks out the light. The eclipse will not be a full eclipse but rather a partial one where only about 90 per cent of the sun will be blocked out.”

Last month, the society’s Jupiter Nights event saw more than 1,200 people look to the skies at the observatory.

Visitors will be able to use the telescopes to view the setting planets Venus and Mars, as well as the mighty planet Jupiter and its four largest moons.

Other wonders of the sky which should be visible are the stellar nursery, Orion Nebula; the Comet Lovejoy, Andromeda Galaxy and open star clusters such as The Seven Sisters.

Highlights will also include interactive presentations and workshops and advice from local astronomers.

The event is suitable for all ages, but make sure to wear suitable clothing.

For more information, visit www.sunderlandastro.com.