Hebridean Dark Skies Festival announces its 2020 programme

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Singer-songwriter Karine Polwart, Sky at Night presenter Chris Lintott, and arts and astronomy project Creativity and Curiosity will be among the headline events at the second Hebridean Dark Skies Festival, it has been announced.

Now in its second year, the Hebridean Dark Skies Festival – led by An Lanntair in partnership with Stornoway Astronomical Society, Calanais Visitor Centre, Gallan Head Community Trust, Lews Castle College and new partner Uig Sands - will bring two weeks of arts and astronomy events to the Isle of Lewis.

The 2020 festival will run from Friday 7 February to Saturday 22 February, with an ambitious and exciting programme spanning theatre, live music, film, visual art, food, astronomy talks, and stargazing.

The first tickets for the festival are now on sale including ‘early bird’ day tickets for A Day of Creativity and Curiosity, a day of events on Saturday 8 February, curated by An Lanntair with Ione Parkin and Gillian McFarland of Creativity and Curiosity.

A Day of Creativity and Curiosity will bring together Karine Polwart, Chris Lintott and jazz musician Steve Pretty, Scotland’s Astronomer Royal John Brown, visual artist Kate Bernstein, Sian Prosser of the Royal Astronomical Society, and more in a day-long meeting of minds between artists and astronomers.

The Outer Hebrides have some of the darkest skies in the whole of the UK.

Many astronomical sights can be seen through the naked eye including the Orion Nebula (over 1,500 light years away), the Milky Way Galaxy, and one of the Milky Way’s companion galaxies the Great Andromeda Galaxy.

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, can also be seen from the islands, one of the very best spots in the UK for watching this incredible phenomenon.

Hebridean Dark Skies Festival 2020 highlights will include: Universe (of Music) with Chris Lintott and Steve Pretty, in which a leading astronomer and a jazz musician team up for an evening of ‘conversation, contemplation, science and music’.

The Only Light Was Stars by Karine Polwart, an exclusive early glimpse at the the singer-songwriter’s supernova-themed follow up to her hit show Wind Resistance.

Creativity and Curiosity, an exhibition in An Lanntair’s main gallery inspired by collaborations between artists and astronomers, to be launched with A Day of Creativity and Curiosity on the festival’s opening weekend.

A brand new Dark Skies photography exhibition, consisting of shortlisted entries in this year’s photography competition.

Cosmos Planetarium – returning for a second year, the popular portable planetarium will present a new programme at An Lanntair and across the island.

Dark Skies film programme bringing together four science fiction films - Solaris, Contact, Interstellar and Ad Astra - that explore human connections across the cosmos.

Stargazing events across the island presented by Highland Astronomy Tours and Stephen Gray from Cosmos Planetarium.

To close the festival, a revival of this year’s popular restaging of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds by Lewis musicians.

The Hebridean Dark Skies Festival will run from Friday 7 February to Saturday 22 February, with more events to be announced in the coming months. For updates visit www.lanntair.com/darkskies. Tickets can be booked via An Lanntair‘s box office on 01851 708480.