Monday, November 16, 2009

Forest Park GIven Dark Sky Honor

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) holds the mission of preserving and protecting the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies. Their awesomeness is another post.

Today, the IDA has given Galloway Forest Park in Scotland their first "Dark Sky Award" outside the United States, declaring it one of the best places for stargazing in the world. A "Dark-Sky" Park is one where the darkness level reaches it’s lowest point on land, (defined as Bortle 2 on the Bortle scale John E. Bortle created and published in the February 2001 edition of Sky & Telescope. Darkness levels of Bortle 1 are only recorded on the ocean). A sky above Galloway Park can be seen in the above photograph: around 7000 stars are visible from Galloway Forest Park compared to the few hundred one sees from most cities enveloped in light pollution .

You can read more about Galloway Forest's Pitch Black sky and the selection process for the "Dark Sky Award" at the BBC's article, "Forest Park Given Dark Sky Honor," and Guardian article, "Scotland prepares to host Europe's first 'dark sky park'."

The Dark Sky Award selection process involves giving a rating via a sky quality meter, which measures the darkness of the sky overhead. Other Dark Sky Awarded parks are Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah; Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania; Geauga Park, Ohio; and now Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

I want to go to there.

1 comment:

  1. Darkest sky I ever saw--Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, down by the lava flows, after all the parking lot lights had been turned off. The sky just kept developing and developing. Lava on the land, stars in the sky, happy me.