Canada a Stargazer’s Haven

Written by The Night Sky Guy on October 16, 2009 – 1:52 pm -

Courtesy of Int'l Dark Sky Assoc.

The astronomical community has been fighting the fog of light pollution for decades – and in most places sadly losing the battle. Professional observatories around the world, even in seemingly remote regions, are being threatened by continuous brightening of the night sky. Light pollution is a global threat that not only ruins our views of the cosmos, but also wastes money and natural resources.

Under the partnership of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and Parks Canada,  Canucks are leading the world in helping conserve astronomically dark skies with the creation of a series of protected stargazing sanctuaries what are being called Dark Sky Preserves (DSP). in fact this weekend marks the 10th anniversary of the first DSP , The Torrance Barrens Park in Ontario (about 2.5 hours drive north of Toronto) being inaugurated.  in honour of the anniversary, Saturday night there will be public stargazing onsite with telescopes – pending clear skies.

Big news for stargazers this month, the Grasslands National Park, in southern Saskatchewan has been designated as Canada’s eleventh Dark Sky Preserve! Located about 100 km south of Swift Current near the border with Montana it will be the largest dark sky conservation area in the world with 527 square kilometers protected from light pollution.

A press release put out on the RASC website says, “By protecting the Grasslands National Park from excessive artificial light, Parks Canada and the RASC are preserving the natural environment into the future so that visitors can enjoy the vitality of the nighttime wildlife and the awesome spectacle of a remarkably dark star-filled sky.”

For more information on the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and other DSPs, see:
 http://www.rasc.ca/lpa/darksky.shtml

For general background info on what light pollution is and what you can do to help curb its growth visit the International Dark Sky Association’s website.


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