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September, 2015

Globe at Night Newsletter

So far in 2015, we have received over 18,600 measurements from 98 countries! This year is Globe at Night’s 10-year anniversary! Can we make it to 21,000 measurements by the end of the year?

Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more dark skies news and Globe at Night Spotlights.

Topics in this month’s newsletter:

Upcoming 2015 Campaign Dates

Cygnus
Northern Hemisphere
Cygnus: September 3-12
Read about the myth of the Cygnus constellation, the swan.

Sagittarius
Southern Hemisphere
Sagittarius : September 3-12
Read about the myth of the Sagittarius constellation, a centaur.

Globe at Night Spotlight

This month’s spotlight focuses on the World’s First International Dark Sky Sanctuary in Chile. On August 9 at the International Astronomical Union meeting, the International Dark-Sky Association announced that the site of the Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) Observatory in the Elqui Valley of northern Chile was recognized and designated as the first International Dark Sky Sanctuary in the world. The site is now known as the “Gabriela Mistral Dark Sky Sanctuary” after the famed Chilean poet. Click here for more information on the sanctuary.

CTIO Moonrise Moonrise over the telescope domes on Cerro Tololo, with the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds visible and the Galactic Center rising. (Photo by Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy)

International Dark Sky Sanctuary Award The International Dark Sky Sanctuary Award: The IDSS proposal authors are (from left-to-right) Steve Pompea (NOAO), Chris Smith (Head of AURA-O in Chile), Malcolm Smith (CTIO) and Pedro Sanhueza (OPCC).

Exceptional Data Points

Montevideo, Uruguay

Check out Montevideo, Uruguay. It has over 1200 data points from 2015 alone! That is 7% of all the measurements taken worldwide! Montevideo has helped Uruguay to skyrocket into our “Over 1000” club at 1418 measurements total. Good job, Montevideo! Keep up the good work.

“Over 100” Club 2015 Update

Did you know that there is a Globe at Night “Over 100” club for countries and for states in the U.S.A.? If your country or state submits over 100 Globe at Night measurements in 2015, you’re in the club!

Our “Over 100” Club members for this month include: United States (6061), Croatia (2248), South Korea (1564), Uruguay (1418), Germany (838), Poland (804), Japan (741), Chile (649), United Kingdom (538), Spain (342), France (325), Canada (279), Australia (194), Italy (166), Puerto Rico (138), Austria (132), Mexico (117), Switzerland (115), Costa Rica (113), Macedonia (112), and Netherlands (102).

Our “Over 100” Club members for states in the U.S.A. include: Michigan (1663), Texas (1004), California (747), Arizona (528), Colorado (184), Pennsylvania (134), Oregon (134), New York (107), Florida (105), and Virginia (100).

Good job 2015 “Over 100” Club members! Keep up the great work!

Globe at Night Podcast

Dark Sky Crusader logo

Did you know that every two months we have a Globe at Night podcast on the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast? Will the Dark Night be able to protect our dark skies from light pollution? Find out by listening to the latest Globe at Night podcast, aired on August 1, as our light pollution heroes help a Florida, USA classroom save sea turtles at the local beach! Tune in on October 1 to hear our next podcast as the Dark Night Crusaders take on light pollution and energy.

Google Hangout Session on Light Pollution and Wildlife

There was another wonderful Google Hangout session on August 27 discussing light pollution and wildlife, in honor of the International Year of Light. The session was hosted by IDA Board Members Kelly Beatty and Connie Walker and starred urban conservation scientist, Dr. Travis Longcore, and dark sky activist, Dr. Andreas Haenel. Watch all the sessions, including the August 27 session, to learn more about light pollution’s effect on our lives and keep up with what’s happening during the International Year of Light.

Gloabl light pollution map Image Credit: DarkSiteFinder.com

Globe at Night Call-To-Action

Call to action map

Ever wonder what happens to your Globe at Night measurements once you’ve submitted them? Both scientists and citizen-scientists have used them in a variety of projects. Most projects need however multiple data points at the same location over time. This map shows 5,000 locations on Earth where someone made an observation in the past but there hasn’t been a new observation within the last five years. If you can make an observation near to one of these points (or if you have a friend who lives close to one of them), it would be extremely helpful. Also, try taking measurements where no data points have been taken yet!

2015 Globe at Night Challenge

In 2014, global citizens contributed over 20,000 data points to Globe at Night’s light pollution campaign! We challenge you to beat that number for 2015! So far we have reached over 18,600 observations. To reach our goal of over 21,000 by the end of the year, we challenge you to surpass 1000 data points every month! Do your part, as a citizen scientist, to help us reach our data goal and participate in the upcoming 2015 Globe at Night Campaigns. Besides the September campaign, which goes through Sept. 12, the remaining campaigns will be::

Earth at Night

  • October 3-12
  • November 2-11
  • December 2-11

The 2015 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest Winners

The winners of the 2015 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest have been announced! The winners were announced on June 16th, and they are spectacular! You can see the photos that won the top spots in the two categories “Beauty of the Night Sky” and “Against the Lights” here. The contest was part of collaboration between The World at Night, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, and Astronomers Without Borders. The entries this year included around 1,000 fantastic photos from 54 countries. Wonderful job to everyone who participated in the photo contest! In addition to the category winners, there are 70 honorable mentions, which can be seen in this video.

This month, we’re spotlighting one of the honorable mentions from the contest. Below is a beautiful photo from the honorable mentions page (found here). And here is what the photographer had to say about her amazing photo:

“The Aurora Australis is the focus of this image. I had staked out possible locations facing south that would provide a strong foreground interest, should the aurora make an appearance. This old farm gate high on a hill on the side of the road fit the bill perfectly. I wanted to show the aurora in context of the surroundings. The beams could be seen with the naked eye. They danced across the sky for at least an hour. Fortunately, all the elements I had hoped for fell into place on this night. I hope this image captures the beauty of the southern lights and the landscape on the Tasman Peninsula.” - Kathryn Hocking

Aurora Australis at the Gate“Aurora Australis at the Gate” by Kathryn Hocking

International Dark Sky Parks

Black Canyon (from http://darksky.org/black-canyon-of-the-gunnison-national-park-receives-international-dark-sky-park-designation/)

The International Dark-Sky Association and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are proud to announce the official selection of Black Canyon as an International Dark Sky Park. This highly sought designation means that Black Canyon has exceptional opportunities to observe dark skies and has implemented a program of dark sky preservation, education and opportunities for the public to enjoy the night sky.

Black Canyon Star Party Visitors to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park enjoy an evening star party. Photo by Ricky Smith.

Black Canyon sits on the edge of the great open spaces shared by western Colorado and southeast Utah, making it a refuge for phenomenal dark, protected skies. It is also close to large population areas, giving visitors the distinct opportunity of being able to observe dark skies without having to travel great distances from urban centers. This blend of opportunities has made Black Canyon a dark sky destination for many years.

Beginning in 1998, Black Canyon partnered with the Black Canyon Astronomical Society in Montrose and Delta, Colorado, to present a variety of programs. Thousands of visitors have stepped up to a telescope at Black Canyon and said “Wow!” The support and dedication of the membership of the astronomical society was integral in making this designation possible.

With that support, park staff and local astronomers have been working for several years to make improvements in park lighting, ensuring that it is night sky and wildlife friendly. Staff and local astronomers perform light fixture and bulb replacement, dark sky monitoring, outreach programs, news media articles and in-park interpretive programs that engage the public in the dark sky discussion and conservation efforts.

To celebrate the new Dark Sky Park status, visitors are invited to attend astronomy programs offered on the South Rim throughout the month of September. These include evening programs and night sky viewing on September 9, 11, and 16 along with a special observation of the total lunar eclipse on September 27.

For more information about Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, visit http://www.nps.gov/blca and http://www.facebook.com/blackcanyonnps. For more information about night skies in national parks, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/night.

Canyonlands National Park (from http://darksky.org/canyonlands-national-park-named-international-dark-sky-park/)

The International Dark-Sky Association has granted Gold-Tier International Dark Sky Park status to Canyonlands National Park, an honor reserved for the darkest of dark skies and the most stunning of starscapes.

Doll House The ‘Doll House’ in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. Photo copyright Dan Duriscoe.

Efforts to preserve natural darkness in Canyonlands began several years ago with a focused effort to revamp and replace park lighting with “night-sky friendly” bulbs and fixtures. Nearly 100 percent of the park’s lights are now “night-sky friendly”. Natural darkness is also recognized in park management documents which clearly state the value of night skies and the park’s commitment to protect them.

Visitors from all over the world attend night sky programs at the Island in the Sky and Needles districts of the park where rangers use story-telling and telescopes to introduce the wonders of the universe to park visitors. Many of these visitors have never seen the Milky Way or a star-filled sky due to where they live. In many national parks, astronomy events are the most popular ranger-led programs, and “astrotourism” enhances economic benefits to nearby communities.

Canyonlands also is a member of the growing Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative. Established in 2012, America’s first Dark Sky Cooperative links communities, tribes, businesses, state agencies, federal agencies, and citizens in a collaborative effort to celebrate the view of the cosmos, minimize the impact of outdoor lighting, and ultimately restore natural darkness to the area. The Dark Sky Cooperative encourages community-based, landscape-scale approaches to conservation to solve today’s land management challenges.

As a newly designated International Dark Sky Park, Canyonlands will remain committed to mitigating light pollution within park boundaries and showcasing the dark night skies to visitors. On Sept. 18th, the National Park Service, in partnership with the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks, will host a public ceremony and astronomy event at Island in the Sky to commemorate the park’s International Dark Sky Park designation.

NOAO AURA NSF

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