Kielder Observatory website
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Thursday, March 31, 2022
Black Fell, Kielder, Hexham NE48 1EJ
North East England
Kielder Observatory, Northumberland

Discover Another Dimension – a creative virtual tour of the dark sky experience by Helen McGhie, photographic artist-in-residence at Kielder Observatory, a magical public astronomical observatory under the darkest skies in England. Another Dimension is a virtual tour of the observatory that invites audiences to explore telescopes, imaginative darkness and the forest, to creatively contemplate the cosmos through lens-based art.

Taking a new perspective on starry-sky Astrophotography that shows long exposures of cosmic light (difficult to see by the human eye), the work focuses on darkness, the immediate view of the universe seen when eyes adjust to night vision. Darkness presents an unknown magic for the imagination, where anything is possible. To enhance this, Another Dimension shares human memories of observations, celestial dreams, and the inspiration felt by astronomers to gaze up at the universe.



“The Universe would be nothing without observers.” – John Wheeler, American theoretical physicist.

The work includes photographic portraits of astronomers at Kielder Observatory, otherworldly landscapes captured in its remote universe and film shot in the landscape of Kielder Forest – an immersive man-made wilderness where the observatory is home. An immersive soundtrack made of sonified photographic data further transforms the experience.

Another Dimension is free to explore online until 31st March 2022. It is part of Helen McGhie’s arts-based research project Stargazing at the Invisible: Photography and the Power of Obscured Light, which seeks to discover new lens-based encounters with dark skies in Northern England, in partnership with Kielder Observatory. This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Helen will lead a special arts event, The Art of Dark Skies at Kielder Observatory on Monday 7th February 2022.

Helen McGhie is a photographic artist and researcher based in Greater Manchester (UK). Her work explores photographic encounters with the unseen. She is Senior Lecturer in Photography at the Northern Centre of Photography, University of Sunderland and is currently working on an arts-based PhD exploring encounters with dark skies at Kielder Observatory, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Kielder Observatory is a public astronomical observatory located in Northumberland and Kielder Water and Forest International Dark Sky Park, the second-largest area (nearly 580 square miles) of protected night sky in Europe, given this status by the International Dark Skies Association, the leading international organisation working to combat light pollution worldwide. The CPRE ranks Kielder as the best place to see the stars in the UK. Learn more about the dark skies at Kielder here.