The National Botanic Garden of Wales has been awarded Dark Sky Discovery Site status – the first botanic garden in Britain to earn this honour.
The move is official recognition by The UK Dark Sky Discovery partnership of the quality of the night sky over the Llanarthne attraction.
The Garden is one of 25 new official ‘dark sky’ sites announced this week, to coincide with the start of the BBC’s Stargazing Live Week on Tuesday January 7.
Dark Sky Discovery Partnership’s Dan Hillier said: “Congratulations to everyone ¬¬- the individuals and the organisation – who has been involved in creating your new Dark Sky Discovery Site. I really hope it enables even more people to be inspired by your local views of the universe.”
Colin Miles, a volunteer at the Garden and a committee member of the Swansea Astronomical Society, which holds regular star-gazing events at the Garden, said: “This is marvellous news. The Garden is ideal for astronomy and we will continue to hold regular events there to try and get people closer to the stars.”
The National Botanic Garden’s Director, Dr Rosie Plummer said: “Clear skies are an excellent measure of a good environment and this award of Dark Sky status emphasises our credentials as a hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities, as well as confirming the Garden as an excellent venue for a great day out – or, in this case, a great night out!”
Dr Plummer added: “This will add impetus to our ambition of creating a site to house the 20″ Schafer-Maksutov Telescope which was formerly at the Marina Towers on the Swansea seafront.”
The next star-gazing event at the Garden is on Friday February 7, 6.30pm-9pm when visitors will have the opportunity to see the Moon, Jupiter, the Orion Nebula and other cosmic wonders, plus talks and telescope advice clinics in the Great Glasshouse; with cawl and coffee available from the Med Cafe.
Admission is £3, under 16s free.
For more information about star-gazing events at the Garden, email email@example.com or call 01558 667149.
* The new series of Star-Gazing Live is on BBC2 on Tuesday, January 7, at 8pm.
* To find out more about the Dark Sky Discovery Partnership, go to www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk