The Milky Way rises over Lanyon Quoit, a neolithic burial chamber in Land's End, Cornwall, England. Photo Credit: David Clapp/Getty Images

Environment United Kingdom21. July 2022

Less Light Pollution Means Brighter Night Skies!

The United Kingdom has the world’s highest concentration of dark (non-light polluted) sky areas, leading to the growing global trend of keeping light pollution to a minimum as studies show that dark skies are beneficial to human health, wildlife, and the environment.

“When we gaze up into a non-light polluted sky we observe the same cosmos our ancestors would have looked upon,” says archeoastronomer Carolyn Kennett. “This allows us to reach back in time and gain an understanding of their relationship with the night sky.”

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), founded by two astronomers committed to protecting night environments from skyglow, recognizes and accredits dark-sky areas worldwide. IDA granted the first International Dark Sky Place to Flagstaff, Arizona, in 2001, and has since supported applications in 49 countries. Today, its dark sky program counts some 190 sites, protecting more than 110,000 square kilometers of dark places, whether they are dark sky reserves, communities, islands, and sanctuaries. Northumberland National Park, UK’s largest Dark Sky Park, makes $32 million a year from Astro-tourism, a not only financial added value but also a life-enhancing one for the imperishable memories. “Looking through the lens of a telescope and seeing Saturn for the first time with the rings clearly defined is a momentous occasion,” says Duncan Wise, visitor development and tourism officer at the park. “You can’t underestimate that wow factor people are looking for.”


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