Scour the skies for Orion

The Peak District Dark Skies Group is seeking the help of residents and visitors to help monitor the impact of light pollution on our night sky.

The constellation of Orion

The constellation of Orion

The group is asking people to join in an annual star survey by assessing the brightness of the constellation Orion over the Peak District National Park.

Orion – the hunter – is one of the wonders of the night sky in this early part of the year and can be recognized by his ‘belt’ of three bright stars in a line with a smaller ‘dagger’ of three stars below.

On clear nights up to February 2, using the star charts available here, people are asked to identify Orion and record details of where they were and which chart best matches what they could see. There is no limit to the amount of observations that can be made, skies permitting.

Peak District Dark Skies co-ordinator Sue Smith said: “We’d be really grateful for people’s help with our ‘Orion in the Peak’. Previous surveys have been very encouraging and have shown that 80 per cent of people in the national park were able to stargaze under excellent skies.

“Our ability to see the stars is very much impacted by artificial light, so we hope it will prompt people to think about whether outside lighting is necessary, and where and when it’s needed. We can all help to reduce light pollution which affects not only our view of the skies but also the wellbeing of people and wildlife.

“The monitoring will guide us in protecting our landscapes and dark skies for all to enjoy now and in the future.”

All the information needed to take part, including how to report your observations, is available from the National Park Authority website.

Sheldon is a dark sky “friendly” village, and we are pleased to say that we only have one streetlight illuminated overnight. If you’d like to visit our village to stargaze, then please drop us a line for suggested viewing locations.

Sheldon Jottings for April 2013

Kath Melland and family wish to sincerely thank everyone, relatives, friends and neighbours for their comfort and support throughout this very sad time of David’s passing. Thank you for cards, flowers and donations and to everyone who braved the weather on David’s funeral day. Thank you to Rev. Tony and Aron for conducting the funeral making sure the people outside the church could hear the service.

We need to complete our eulogy to Pauline, whose milk delivery many of us rely on. Public transport can stop running when it snows and schools can close, but Pauline battles through with her deliveries and these begin at some dark hour of the  morning long before most people surface.  Sheldon, sitting on the edge of a plateau at over 320 metres (1000 feet) gets real weather and amounts of snow unimaginable in places even just slightly lower in altitude. We are not afforded the necessity of a council plough/ gritting lorry when it is really needed – so thank you again Pauline.

We have been asked about the appearance of the small twee stumps around a green at the top of the village. Can anyone enlighten us all? We are a rugged, working village and immensely proud of it.

Some good news – Sheila has justly been awarded a Derbyshire Dales District Council Chairman’s Community Award for her services to Sheldon. The ceremony was on 21st March at the Town Hall, Matlock; hearty congratulations Sheila!

Take note – Weds April 17th at 7.30pm in the village hall, the History Group welcomes Danny  Wells to give a talk about Joseph Paxton. Paxton, known as ‘the busiest man in England’ was an architect, garden and park designer and much more. He was responsible for several features and buildings at Chatsworth and in the surrounding area and is buried at Edensor.  All are welcome.

Our famous cream teas in the village hall begin again after the difficult and dreary winter – March 31st – cancelled due to bad weather,  May 5th,  May  26th and August 25th. Please come and visit us and really indulge yourselves!

Don’t forget to comment (by April 2nd) if you feel strongly, on the plans for the night time switch-off of most of our street lighting. Everyone will have received notification of this via e-mail or paper copy.

Dates for the Diary

Vicar’s coffee morning: Tues 16th April at 10.00am in the Cock and Pullet, afterwards APCM in the church.

Parish Meeting (AGM): Weds 10th April at 7.30pm in the village hall

Part night lighting in Sheldon

Street Light

Part night lighting comes to Sheldon

Derbyshire County Council are changing the way they light Derbyshire’s streets at night by proposing to switching off some lights between midnight and 5.30am and turning off some others altogether.

Further information regarding this scheme is available here, and we encourage you to read it as the consultation for our village is now open to comment, and will remain open until 2nd April 2013. A map of the streetlights in Sheldon can be viewed here, and that page also contains a generic feedback form about the proposals. If you want to provide specific feedback about an individual light, you can comment by clicking on the light on the map or visiting this page.

Sheldon benefits from some of the darkest skies in the Peak District, and also significant amounts of nocturnal wildlife. These reasons, combined with the fact that the traffic through the village overnight is practically non-existant, mean that this scheme would appear to be a very sensible one for adoption by our village.

Sheldon Jottings for April 2011

Well, it’s April, and that means swallows again at last. It is the best time of the year and the swallows make our village something special.

Congratulations to Nigel Etchells, who was presented with a Derbyshire Dales community award by the Council Chair in recognition for all his voluntary labours for the village at Matlock Council Chambers on March 10th, complete with food, speeches and official photos; thanks also to Mickey for all her continuing support both to Nigel and to the village. Nigel is now the fourth member of our village to receive such an award! It certainly says something about the community spirit of everyone in this village that so many have been so honoured.

Nigel and Mickey meanwhile have visited Marjorie Fearn in her new home across the Pennines. Lots of reminiscences of Sheldon, and of the Monday lunches Mickey and Marjorie used have in the Cock and Pullet. She is settled, looks very well, and the day Nigel and Mickey went all the grandchildren were there as well. Marjorie sends her love to everyone and says she has not forgotten the place or anyone in it!

A huge thank you to everyone who brought photos or lent their photos for Sheldon History Group’s evening of scanning old photographs of the village! Georgina reports they scanned in approximately 50 old photographs on the night, and created a huge spreadsheet where each photo was numbered and given a description and date where possible. After they have finished scanning these, the group will move on to more modern ones. Eventually, there will be a book! Julia and Marlene, as usual, made delicious cakes to accompany the scanning evening.

Don’t forget Friday April 29th, Sheldon’s celebration of the Royal wedding. We still need children in the village who would like to volunteer to be the Sheldon Prince or Princess. Please let Georgina know as soon as possible. Children of all ages up to 16 would be welcome. Please let Georgina know if you know of someone who may be interested, and please spread the word. Lots of surprises are planned for the day, and the commemorative mugs (with Sheldon written on them) and the cake are ordered!

A brilliant night was had by seventeen Sheldon ladies on their trip to see Calendar Girls. The night started in the coach with drinks and nibbles. My spies tell me the interval was spent star spotting, and a few more light(?) refreshments. Thanks to Lindsey for organising it, and for the food on the trip as well.

We’re very proud of Sheldon’s lack of light pollution, so it was easy for Julia to look out the farm window to see the huge lights of the Discovery space shuttle coming right over the village on a beautiful clear March night; another reason for keeping light pollution away.

Happy Easter everyone!

Parish meeting: April 13th (AGM elections)
Coffee morning: April 5th in the pub at 10 am