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ADSA April Newsletter

Dear readers,

 

Greetings and welcome to the newsletter by the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance. We aim to illuminate the efforts, endeavors, and stories from across the region in battling light pollution, elevating awareness, and nurturing a legacy of star-filled skies.


In this issue, we cover:

  • Valuing Darkness - Early Bird ends 30th of April + Members Discount

  • Lead up to the International Day of Light

  • Spotlight on Arkaroola Dark Sky Sanctuary


Valuing Darkness Symposium

11-12 September 2024, Victoria University, Melbourne


Join us for a full-day symposium where experts will discuss the global impact of light pollution on culture, energy consumption, health, wildlife, and astronomy. Explore sustainable solutions and learn about the latest research in combating light pollution.


Register before April 30th for a 20% off early bird discount.


Join as a member of the ADSA for $50 to receive 40% off and save up to $198!


 

International Day of Light

16th May 2024


The International Day of Light (IDL) occurs annually on May 16th and marks the anniversary of the first successful laser operation in 1960 by physicist and engineer Theodore Maiman. This day serves as a worldwide initiative, offering an annual opportunity to collectively recognize and celebrate the significant role of light in science- including medicine, energy, and communications, as well as in culture, art, education, and sustainable development.


This event brings together various sectors of global society to highlight how progress in science, technology, art, and culture contributes to achieving UNESCO's objectives of education, equality, and peace in our societies.


Without light, our planet would be but a cold and barren place. Indeed, where there is light, there is often an abundance of life. Yet light represents even more for humanity. Light goes hand in hand with knowledge; it is a lens through which to see and understand the world.

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General


The Sydney Photonics Industry Network (SPIN) will bring together 10 leading companies and organizations from the Sydney and Canberra Optics and Photonics landscape to demonstrate their pioneering products and services in their international Day of Light Industry Showcase 2024. Entry is free, registration is required. Find out more here.


Search for other events happening around the globe for the International Day of Light and learn more about IDL here.


 

Spotlight on Arkaroola Dark Sky Sanctuary:


The rugged red wilderness of the Arkaroola area, 100 million years in the making, is undeniably exceptional. Isolated and insulated from fast-paced urban life, Arkaroola Village exists in harmony with its surroundings of ancient mountains, unique wildlife, and one of the darkest night skies in the world.



What was once an area of inaccessible wilderness is now a springboard from which to experience the breathtaking scenery and discover the scientific treasures of the Northern Flinders Ranges. Moreover, the region is rich in First Nations history and the local Adnyamathanha people maintain a strong cultural connection to the land. Arkaroola derives its name from the Adnyamathanha dreamtime Arkaroo- a giant serpent living in the high Gammon Ranges, southwest of Arkaroola, and is said to be responsible for carving out the landscape.


The Trifid Nebula, image from Ningana Observatory

Taking advantage of some of the clearest skies in the southern hemisphere, Arkaroola has invested in providing unique Astronomy experiences where visitors can reconnect with the night and learn about both ancient and modern astronomy. The state-of-the-art Ningana observatory (Ningana= meeting place in Adnyamathanha) is capable of real-time deep-space imaging. From the comfort of a sofa, visitors are guided on a tour through our universe, beholding its beauty in vivid colour and 4k resolution. Expect goosebumps.



High above the village at the Mount Oliphant observatory, visitors get up close and personal with celestial objects through the eyepiece of a telescope. In addition to this suite of tours is the Under the Stars experience, which focuses on naked-eye and binocular-viewing Astronomy.

A recent futuristic upgrade to this experience are the three custom-built robotic star chairs, equipped with binoculars, that seamlessly move to align you with the astronomy guide's telescope. I would hold off on the wine until after.



Under the stars, Credit: Matthew Storer (@matthewstorerphotography)


Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby. Credit: Gideon Rafael

Dark skies over Arkaroola also benefit the myriad of interesting and quirky wildlife, including Emus, Echidnas, and Wedge-tail Eagles. Conservation efforts by Arkaroola and others have helped to recover Yellow-footed rock wallaby populations from previously alarming levels and seeing them is a highlight of the trip for many. Being crepuscular and nocturnal, they need a dark nighttime environment for their well-being.

Don't miss Doug Sprigg's amusing and informative commentary during the Wallaby feeding!



If Arkaroola Village isn't remote enough, The Ridgetop Sleepout tour provides an opportunity for guests to camp in the heart of the stunning mountain range and take in the scenery while the host prepares canapés. Once night falls, the newly installed ZWO Seestar astrophotography telescope enables guests to take amazing photographs of deep space with just a smartphone app.

Photo credit: Matthew Storer (@matthewstorerphotography)


There are plenty more guided and self-guided tours on offer which cater to a variety of interests and passions.


Arkaroola's extraordinary vision and commitment to education and conservation make it an inspirational place to stimulate curiosity about the world and strengthen our connection to nature and the night sky. International Dark Sky Sanctuary status is helping Arkaroola and its not-for-profit entity, the Arkaroola Education and Research Foundation, to further encourage education, conservation, and research activities.



 

We would love to hear from you and learn more about the initiatives taken by communities, businesses, and government bodies in our quest to protect our celestial wonders.

 

To contribute articles, photos, and information for our next issue, please contact outreach@ausdarksky.org. Additionally, we offer a Dark Sky Events and Activities Calendar where you can add your upcoming events dedicated to preserving our dark skies.

 

Together, let's continue to cherish and safeguard the splendor of our starry nightscape for generations to come.

 

Marnie Ogg

Director of Outreach






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