NOVICE stargazers are being invited to “take a journey through the Universe” from one of the North York Moors’ darkest locations.

Cropton Lodges, near Pickering, will be the location for a first-ever “star party” being staged as part of the third Dark Sky Festival on Saturday, February 23.

Powerful telescopes will be pointed skywards to reveal celestial wonders, from distant galaxies to sparkling star clusters.

Visitors will even get the chance to handle rocks from outer space thought to be billions of years old.

Amateur astronomer Richard Darn said: “The night sky can look ravishing from this location, far away from light pollution.

“It’s a great chance to learn more about the wonder of the starry sky that makes the North York Moors so special.”

The wider Dark Sky Festival will also feature stargazing evenings across Ryedale, night walks at several locations, a night zip at Go Ape in Dalby Forest, and night photography workshops.

Tickets for the Cropton star party can be bought at For more information on the Dark Sky Festival, go to