Archive for the ‘Dark Sky Sites’ Category

New Mexican Skies Protected With Dark Sky Park Designation

August 28, 2013 Leave a comment

"Milky Way, Fajada Butte" by Stan Honda

“Milky Way, Fajada Butte” by Stan Honda

The 34,000-acre Chaco Culture National Historical Park is home to many ancient wonders including the remains of a civilization that thrived over 1,000 years ago. The park, which has been protecting its archaeological riches since it was established in 1907, is now protecting its views of the starry skies too. It has just been named as the International Dark-Sky Associationʼs newest Dark Sky Park.

“Once the night sky was something that was very much a part of the human experience at Chaco and around the globe,” says IDA Executive Director Bob Parks. “We are delighted that Chaco is now preserving the nighttime environment alongside their historic treasures.”

As a Gold-tier IDA Dark Sky Park, Chaco has shown its commitment to preserving its near-pristine night skies. The park has adopted a set of strict lighting guidelines that include the use of dark-sky friendly lighting now and in the future, ensuring that it will do its part to keep the nighttime environment natural and unspoiled for generations to come.

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International Dark Sky Week 5 – 11 April, 2013

IDSW_smCelebrate the stars! Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, IDSW has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. The goals of IDSW are to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.

Light pollution is a growing problem. Not only does it have detrimental effects on our views of the night sky, but it also disrupts the natural environment, wastes energy, and has the potential to cause health problems.

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POV’s ‘The City Dark’ Asks, ‘Do We Need The Stars?’ Thursday, July 5, 2012 On PBS

The Advance of Electric Light Has Sent Nighttime into Retreat, With Astonishing Effects On Humans and Wildlife.

“A documentary about light pollution that is entertaining and thought-provoking? It hardly seems possible, but that’s what Ian Cheney has made in The City Dark. . . . This film makes you want to go find a starry sky to camp under quickly, before it’s all gone.” — Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

The town in rural Maine where Ian Cheney spent much of his childhood has about 4,000 residents. Waldoboro had electric lights, but on a cloudless and moonless night, it was impossible not to be struck by the incredible array of stars visible above.

But when Cheney moved to New York City, his familiar world of light and dark was upended. In this metropolis, light was everywhere —but starlight was much harder to find.

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New Zealand’s Aoraki Mackenzie Named World’s Largest International Dark Sky Reserve

Over 1,600 square miles of New Zealand’s South Island have just been proclaimed as an International Dark Sky Reserve, making it the largest in the world. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR), comprised of the Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park and the Mackenzie Basin, is the fourth such dark sky reserve in the world.

International Dark-Sky Association’s Executive Director Bob Parks remarks, “The new reserve is coming in at a ‘Gold’ level status. That means the skies there are almost totally free from light pollution. To put it simply, it is one of the best stargazing sites on Earth.”

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NamibRand Nature Reserve Becomes Africa’s First International Dark Sky Reserve

May 24, 2012 Leave a comment

24 May, 2012. TUCSON, AZ & WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA – Namibiaʼs NamibRand Nature Reserve,
one of Africaʼs largest private nature reserves, has expanded its conservation role to include preserving the star-filled nighttime skies that shine above its dunes and mountains. These efforts in night sky conservation have earned the reserve high honors as the International Dark-Sky Association has just announced that NamibRand Nature Reserve is the worldʼs newest International Dark Sky Reserve.

The International Dark-Sky Associationʼs night sky conservation efforts include working with groups to form International Dark Sky Reserves (IDSR) and other dark sky places. International Dark-Sky Associationʼs Executive Director Bob Parks explains, “The night sky over the NamibRand Nature Reserve is exceptional, as are the efforts the reserve has taken in modifying its lighting for the sake of its wildlife and visitors.”

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Big Bend Designated as International Dark Sky Park

February 8, 2012 2 comments

The stars at night are big and bright in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. The park was recently designated as an International Dark Sky Park, one of now just ten in the world. Big Bend National Park (BBNP) came in at the ‘Gold Tier’ level meaning that the skies above the park are free from all but the most minor impacts of light pollution.

Measurements by the National Park Service Night Sky Team show that the Big Bend Region offers the darkest measured skies in the lower 48 states making it a worthy jewel to the worldwide crown of dark sky oases recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

With an area of over 801,000 acres, Big Bend National Park is also the largest International Dark Sky Park to date.

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Homer Glen, IL, Becomes 3rd Int’l Dark Sky Community

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The Village of Homer Glen, Illinois, became the world’s third International Dark Sky Community on 21 November. Located 30 miles southwest of Chicago, Homer Glen’s proximity to a major city presented large challenges but also valuable opportunities to raise awareness on the negative effects of wasteful outdoor lighting.

A primary goal of the International Dark Sky Places program is to improve sky quality relative to an area, and Homer Glen has worked hard to provide a respite to the famously excessive lighting of Chicago. Sky glow prohibits astronomical quality skies, but Homer Glen’s statewide leadership and education campaign for smart lighting policy has earned the recognition of this prestigious award.

Work in Homer Glen is — hands down — the initiator of the dark sky movement for the entire state of Illinois. The Village passed the state’s first stand-alone lighting ordinance in 2007, and its promotion of Earth Hour attracted the support of then-Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn, who commended Homer Glen for its “environmentally friendly” outdoor lighting ordinance in 2008 during a ceremony held jointly by representatives of IDA and the World Wildlife Fund.

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Pinpointing Stargazing Sites for More Eyes

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Communities across England will have a twinkle in their eye and get a big environmental and educational boost thanks to Dark Sky Discovery– a pioneering new national and regional partnership of astronomy and environmental organisations led by the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

A £176.8k grant, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and awarded through Natural England’s Access to Nature programme, will support a 2-year programme to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to come together in their local area and enjoy the night sky in a radically new way.

Working with astronomy, environmental and community organisations in every English region, the aim is to involve people in identifying safe, accessible ‘Dark Sky Discovery Sites’ – places in urban and rural areas where they can take part in stimulating stargazing sessions. A series of Dark Sky Discovery Sites has been unveiled in England – and also in Wales and Scotland – illustrating the range of great local spots that people can use for stargazing.

Project Leader Dan Hillier, based at the STFC’s Royal Observatory Edinburgh site, says: “In every community there is somewhere that is the best place to see the stars.  Even in towns and cities, there are places such as local parks where people can enjoy the wonders of the night sky, from planets to meteor showers. This project will find ways of helping people from a whole range of different backgrounds – such as schools, community and special needs groups, to discover the universe that is just beyond their doorstep.”

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