Chichester Harbour is the venue for the BBC’s The Sky at Night

A light pollution map showing Chichester Harbour
A light pollution map showing Chichester Harbour

Chichester Harbour has provided the backdrop for an episode of the BBC’s star gazing programme ‘The Sky at Night’ this weekend.

Filmed at West Itchenor, one of the Harbour’s new Dark Sky Discovery Sites, the programme was shot on a beautifully clear evening, providing an excellent vista of the landscape and skies.

First broadcast in 1957, ‘The Sky at Night’ is one of the BBC’s longest running TV series.

The Sky at Night team included local expert astronomer Pete Lawrence who is from Selsey and has been working with The Sky at Night for the past 14 years.

The crew began filming at around 8.30pm, in time for sunset, and continued until 10.30pm.

Although the main focus was on Jupiter, the BBC was also able to film the salt marshes and stunning views across the water.

Three new Dark Sky Discovery Sites were designated in Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 2017.

All sites were identified as excellent places for stargazing due to their impressive levels of darkness, lines of sight and good accessibility year round.

The locations of the sites are north of the Lt. Col. John Q Davis foothpath in West Itchenor, Maybush Copse in Chidham, and at Eames Farm on Thorney Island.

Richard Austin, AONB Manager, said, “It has been a real privilege to welcome ‘The Sky at Night’ team to Chichester Harbour and share with them one of our new Dark Skies sites.

“In fact the crew was so impressed by the landscape of the harbour that they have asked to come back again to film another episode later in the year.

“We hope that ‘The Sky at Night’ viewers will enjoy the beauty of the harbour and the clarity of the stargazing available here when the programme is broadcast.”

The Sky at Night in Chichester Harbour will be shown on BBC4 at 10pm on Sunday or can be viewed via the BBC iPlayer.

In partnership with the South Downs Astronomical Society, the Conservancy is holding a number of stargazing events as part of its annual activities programme for 2018.

More information about Dark Sky Discovery Sites is available at www.darkskydiscovery.org.uk

More about the local Dark Skies areas here: https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/celebrating-our-star-studded-skies-with-two-weeks-of-talks-and-events-1-8368993