PLANS are in place for the fifth Dark Skies Festival which will show just how much visitors can enjoy the cosmos without leaving Earth.

Held jointly by the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, the 17-day festival, which coincides with the February half-term holidays, will comprise more than 100 events, including virtual space travel, stargazing safaris and bike rides.

New events for the 2020 festival include an evening with renowned astronomy professor Andy Newsam, professor of astronomy education at Liverpool John Moores University and director of the National Schools’ Observatory, who will reveal how next-generation telescope technology will revolutionise how people can explore the universe from the comfort of their own home.

Adventures for the Soul will be staging yoga and mindfulness sessions at Great Fryup Dale in the North York Moors before leading people on a guided night walk.

The less intense lunar light associated with the appearance of a New Moon in late February will give the stars more chance to shine through and coincide with a plethora of new spots being used for stargazing sessions during the festival.

These include evenings at Blakey Ridge above Rosedale where visitors can enjoy a safari across the night sky.

The ever-popular night photography courses, gaze and graze evenings (astronomy and dining while looking out at the night sky), nocturnal wildlife sessions and opportunities to see how artists interpret the dark skies, will also feature once again in the festival.

Dark Skies Festival 2020 takes place from February 14 to March 1. For more information, go to