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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Find a Dark Sky Site Near You


Sooner or later, most amateur astronomers will realize that their once dark sky backyard is becoming more and more light polluted. As cities grow, they typically install more and more street lamps and other illumination. These lights are often poorly designed and waste copious amounts of light into the sky, ruining the view of the night sky. While this may seem trivial to non-astronomers, the absence of stars in the night sky has real effects on the non-astronomers' thoughts on our place in the universe. Even so, not all of our land is ruined by this light pollution yet. There exists state- and nationally-protected parks that are intended to preserve such natural resources as a dark sky, and you'd be surprised to find that the closest one to you isn't that far away! The following websites are great places to find information on dark sky sites near you!

  • ObservingSites.com - This website contains a database of dark sky sites submitted by amateur astronomers across the US. If you know of one that is not in their database, submit it at their site!

  • Clear Dark Sky - The same people who bring you the "Clear Sky Clock" also have data on local light pollution, also available as high-resolution maps of light pollution levels. A map for each continent is available for download as separate files. Just scroll down the page and select the region you want a map for, and download the appropriate file (these files are quite large and may take a long time to download).

  • The Dark Sky Society has a "resources" page that contains info on local and state ordinances regarding light pollution, and what one can do about it.

  • For those looking for the ultimate in dark sky sites, check out About.com's page on Soutwestern US dark sky tourism.

  • Also check out this article at the National Parks Traveler.


Clear skies!

20 comments:

John said...

Does anyone have any idea if there are similar resources for the UK?

Sean Welton said...

Sorry about that! I've since edited the post above so that it includes a link to the global page (which I should have done the first time). The map you are interested in is located here.

Clear skies!
Sean

January 28, 2009 at 1:18 PM

John said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Light pollution is so bad where I live that I have to put the 60w bedroom light on just to make it darker so I can sleep...

What a waste of energy and then they blame us for the “energy crisis” or "global warming" because we leave the TV on standby ?????

I don't even have a TV !!!

They should be prosecuted for littering with these uneconomic streetlights that are even on during the day sometimes.
There are better designs but they are not interested because it is good money for the energy corporations and the politicians they snuggle up with.

Sorry… it just makes me so angry that the greedy criminals (or legal gangsters) that call themselves "politicians" and "businessmen" are trashing our planet for personal profit.

There is no profit in a toxic planet but that is somebody else’s problem right ?

Maybe it is just as well we haven’t got into space yet because we would be trashing that also.
The NASA tool box in our orbit is a classic, how much did that cost ?

I have spent many nights looking at the stars and have come to the conclusion that :
The only sign of intelligent life in this universe is the fact we have not seen or found any yet!

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