Membership at Astronomical Society rockets

�  Tony Bartholomew ' 07802 400651/mail@bartpics.co.uk''16th August 2012''PICTURE PROVIDED ON BEHALF OF THE FORESTRY COMMISSION FOR EDITORIAL USE WITH PRESS RELEASE.''Alicia Jeffrey 13 looking to the sky ahead of Starfest which is being held at Dalby Forest next weekend .
� Tony Bartholomew ' 07802 400651/mail@bartpics.co.uk''16th August 2012''PICTURE PROVIDED ON BEHALF OF THE FORESTRY COMMISSION FOR EDITORIAL USE WITH PRESS RELEASE.''Alicia Jeffrey 13 looking to the sky ahead of Starfest which is being held at Dalby Forest next weekend .
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The sky is the limit for local Astronomical clubs following a surge in members off the back of a hit stargazing television programme.

Stargazing Live, presented by former pop star turned physicist Brian Cox has set out to prove astronomy is the new “rock n’ roll”.

As a result Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society reported many new faces at its over-subscribed annual Star-Fest camp in Dalby Forest this weekend, while York Astronomical Society has also seen membership figures rocket.

Following the success of the camp event the Forestry Commission is staging a public bats and stars night in Dalby’s 3,440 hectares, on Saturday 25 to celebrate the onset of darker nights.

Graham Jackson, Ranger with the Forestry Commission said: “The North York Moors beauty-spot never sleeps and at sunset nocturnal wildlife stirs for action, including eight different bat species.

“Local woods are bat hotspots and researchers are using them to probe the secret world of the shy flying mammal, confirming that pipistrelles are in fact two different species and also finding a new species to the UK, Alcathoe’s bat, a few years ago.”

The Bat and Stars night will feature rangers armed with electronic detectors who will lead a trek through the woods to tune into the bat’s unique frequencies.

Then Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society will break out powerful telescopes to spy distant suns, star clusters and galaxies millions of light years away which experts believe could also harbour life.

Mr Jackson added: “Dalby is a fantastic place by night, with plenty of wildlife active and with the wonderful Milky Way arching over head on clear Autumn nights, made far more visible because of the lack of light pollution.

“This is a very popular event and terrific way to experience Mother Nature’s wonders.”

The event runs between 8pm and 10pm on Saturday 25. Booking is essential by calling (01751) 472771 or visiting the Dalby Forest Visitor Centre.