I had the great pleasure to recently visit Caradon Observatory; a little gem tucked away in the countryside near Upton Cross. To be honest, I never knew it existed, but I am glad I do now, as the geek inside me really enjoyed the visit.
During the visit I was shown a picture taken by the observatory which showed a star cluster. I was blown away with the quality of the picture. However, I was completely stunned when I was told the imagine contained in the picture was actually 12 million years old and it took that long to reach earth for the picture to be taken. WOW.
During the visit, I got to view the sun through one of smaller telescopes. It may seem odd, as we see and feel the sun every day, but when you look at a telescope and see the sun in all its glory with sun spots and solar flares you really get a feeling how powerful the sun is.
During the visit I also learned more of the plan for Bodmin Moor to have the status as an International Dark Sky Park. This sounds like a worthy aim. The main benefit is the protection of the exceptional night sky. In addition if promoted right it could have a significant tourist and educational bonus. Other key areas in the UK are Exmoor; Dartmoor; Brecon Beacons; parts of Northumberland and parts of Scotland.
The Council is looking to submit an application next spring. More details on the project can be found via the Cornwall Council website HERE. Further details on the dark sky project are HERE. I found the visit very interesting and can see the benefits of the Dark Sky project in this area. In fact, I think we should be doing more to reduce unnecessary lighting in our towns and villages.