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Telescopes at the ready! Dark Skies festival kicks off this week

Fun for all the family with tours of the night sky, live stargazing sessions and Q&As and a landing on Mars.

The South Downs Dark Skies festival has become an annual highlight in the Sussex calendar and the good news is, this year it’s still going ahead.

A full calendar of online events has been put together including films, Q&A sessions, live stargazing at home and even a landing on Mars!

Astronomers from the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester will bring the night sky directly into peoples’ homes using their star projector, the centrepiece of the Planetarium itself, for virtual guided tours of the night sky.

On February 17 the guided tour will take an in-depth look at Mars, ahead of the NASA rover Perseverance landing on the Red Planet the following day – which will be live-streamed as part of the festival.

There’ll also be live Q&A sessions with Dr John Mason of the Planetarium, interviews with South Downs resident and Dark Skies author Tiffany Francis-Baker, and a range of crafts and activities.

Events are free. View the full programme here.

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