Stargazers gather despite cloud-covered sky

A SKY covered in cloud did not deter eager stargazers in Steyning on Friday.

The Star pub venue may have been the only ‘star’ visible but about 90 people still enjoyed a fascinating evening, organised by the Steyning Downland Scheme.

Astronomer Richie Jarvis, from the 24-hour internet radio stream Astronomy.FM, gave an excellent talk on getting started in stargazing, what to look for and how to go about it.

South Downs National Park ranger Dan Oakley explained how to take part in the dark skies survey the authority is compiling.

Mr Oakley said most people in the area were used to seeing the orange glow of light pollution and may not realise the rich landscape of stars hidden above.

“But there are still places in the South Downs where the night skies are dark enough to reveal an astonishing and glorious starscape,” he added

The evening also included a design a planet competition for the children.

It is hoped another event can be organised in March, but it is likely to be last-minute, when clear skies are guaranteed.