Spring Edition - 2023
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
Dear Starlight Savers,
Welcome to our September issue of the ADSA Quarterly newsletter. It’s my first one as Board Chair and I am delighted to introduce myself to you all. It has been a busy time for ADSA over the past few months with a fabulous dark skies event in Canberra followed by a strategy session with the board. We have restructured the board to be more diverse and allow ADSA to align the energies of our board and other volunteers to where their passions lie.
Our full board now consists of 7 executive directors
* Elliot Charlton, (Secretary)
* Selena Griffith (Chair)
* Dr Richard McDermid, (Treasurer)
* Dr Kellie Pendoley (Vice Chair)
* Peter Swanton
* Nalayini Brito
There are also 4 non-executive directors
* Landon Bannister - Technical Director
* Marnie Ogg - Outreach Director
* Dr Jen Martin - Youth Ambassador Director
We have 2 current board vacancies.
1 x Executive Director (ideally with legal / governance or compliance experience), and
1 x one Non-Executive Director (ideally with experience in human health aspects of light).
If you are interested in either of these board roles I would welcome expressions of interest from our community. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief introduction on you, your experience, and what you hope to bring as an active board member.
We look forward to hearing your news and dark sky achievements.
Dark Sky Places - Australasia
News from the Jump Up Dark Sky Sanctuary
Celebrate the wonders of the universe with the award-winning Deep-Time Astronomy wheel chart!
Discover a captivating journey through time and space as this invaluable resource connects the celestial objects in the night sky to the extraordinary events on Earth. Delve into the depths of our collective understanding and embark on a thrilling search for our place within the cosmos. This remarkable wheel chart is packed with incredible facts about 30 mesmerizing night-sky objects. Learn where they are located, when they formed and get insider tips on the best time to view them in the Southern Hemisphere. With this chart in hand, you'll be equipped to explore the stars like never before. Flip it over, and a whole new world of constellations awaits! The reverse side of the Deep-Time Astronomy wheel chart reveals the constellation patterns where these awe-inspiring night-sky objects can be found. Engaging explanatory text adds a deeper layer of knowledge, making it a comprehensive guide for both aspiring astronomers and seasoned stargazers. Unleash your curiosity and embark on an astronomical adventure with the Deep-Time Astronomy wheel chart. Explore the mysteries of the universe, connect the dots between Earth and the stars, and expand your understanding of the cosmos. Specifications • 20cm in diameter • Printed on thick board paper with a protective mylar coating • Price: $14.95 each
Light pollution is of course caused by excess light. But why? What is excess light, and why does it pollute?
Let’s begin with the brightest light we have, the Sun. We’ve all learnt that during daylight hours we cannot see the stars because the sun outshines them – but what does that really mean?
Imagine for a minute you are driving in a car with a very dusty and dirty windscreen. It may not obstruct your view and you can see just fine for a while, but then you turn west and are heading into the setting sun. Suddenly you can’t see much outside and it’s almost impossible to make out what’s ahead. It is a very dangerous situation. So why did the sun shining directly onto the windscreen make such a difference? Well, that fine layer of dust and bugs scatters the sunlight from the surface of the windscreen in all directions, so suddenly the windscreen has now become a bright light source immediately in front of you. The windscreen outshines some of the dimmer objects on the road ahead making visibility very poor. Exactly the same thing happens to sunlight in Earth’s atmosphere. The nitrogen molecules in our atmosphere act like the dust on the windscreen and scatter the shorter blue wavelengths of light very well. This is the reason that the sky appears blue (it is called Rayleigh Scattering). The amount of blue light scattering from the air above us exceeds the amount of light coming from faint stars so we cannot see stars during the daytime. You will notice however that it is possible to see the Moon in the daytime just before and after a full Moon. This is because the Moon is very bright compared to the stars, so we can still distinguish it above the glow of the blue sky. Because our atmosphere scatters blue light so well, it acts like a filter, allowing the longer red and orange wavelengths to pass through most easily, hence the sun appears very red at sunset and sunrise. This is most noticeable from a flat, open location with a very low horizon such as in Australia’s interior and around Winton of course. When the sun is just above the horizon it’s light travels through the more length of atmosphere and the blue light gets filtered out very well, leaving the long red and orange wavelengths to dominate and thus the spectacular colours of sunsets and rises. So what does this tell us about light pollution you ask? It tells us that bright blue lights (or cool-white light bulbs) emit light that scatters off the air above us, while dimmer warm-white lights do not scatter as significantly. In our houses, buildings, streetlights and cities it has become the trend to try to mimic natural bright sunlight as much as possible. However, this means when we leave those lights on at night, they literally act like sunlight and their blue components mimic the sun in our atmosphere. This causes the air above cities to glow glow, thus reducing the number of faint nebula and stars that can be seen. This is light pollution. The sky glow above large cities can be so significant that night constantly appears like a full Moon is shining down and very few stars are visible. To reduce the sky glow from artificial lights, organisations like the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance (ADSA), and DarkSky International (formerly the International Dark-Sky Association) raise awareness about light pollution and measures to protect and preserve night skies. Some of the best ways that you can help are : •visit an International Dark-Sky Place such as our Museum Jump-Up which was accredited as the first International Dark-Sky Sanctuary in Australia (also, Warrumbungle National Park in NSW, the River Murray Dark-Sky Reserve in SA and the newest Dark-Sky Sanctuary in Arkaroola, SA) •Use warm-white lights outdoors in carports or front doors with shielding to ensure the light is directed downwards (bulbs with a 3000K temperature rating are best as they emit very little blue light) •Use small pathway lights at ankle height where required rather than large and bright overhead lights •Visit https://www.australasiandarkskyalliance.org/ and https://darksky.org/ to learn more As you make your outdoor lighting more night-sky friendly you will quickly discover how little light you require to see and move safely in the dark. Clear and dark skies to all. GRANT SALMOND Gondwana Observatory (first image) One of the sights you can see in a truly dark sky is the Zodiacal Light. The band of light on the left of the frame is the Carina Nebula and our Milky Way galaxy. On the right side of the frame you can see a distinct spike or cone of light glowing upward into the sky. This is the Zodiacal light – sunlight is scattering off interplanetary dust particles outside Earth’s atmosphere in the plane of our solar system. (second image) The sign at the base of The Jump-Up announcing our accredited status as Australia’s First International Dark-Sky Sanctuary with star trails in the background. The dense and bright cluster of trails to the right of the sign is from the rich field of bright stars in the Carina Nebula region, Southern Cross (Crux) and Centaurus constellations.
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary announced it has recently been designated South Australia's first Dark Sky Sanctuary and the second dark sky place in the State. As one of the darkest Dark Sky Places in the world, there is lot's to celebrate!
Download this report in the Adelaide Astronomical Society Newsletter
Starlight Conference New Zealand
October 20th to 23rd, 2024
Johan Eklöf, PhD, author of the Darkness Manifesto distinguished Swedish bat scientist, and advocate, will be a notable contributor at the New Zealand Starlight Conference in Tekapo.
"Dark Skies for All: a Call for Action!"
Prepare to engage in conversations that traverse boundaries, lighting up the path to a more harmonious relationship between urban lighting and the cosmos.
Do you have a dark sky experience, event or upcoming activity?
... Share it here!
We want to promote your activities, actions and outreach ideas. To add your event details to this calendar please contact email@example.com.
International Day of Light in Canberra
ADSA's Dark Sky event held on the International Day of Light at Wildbark in Canberra was a resounding success, inspiring turnout of politicians, members of the Astronomical Society of Canberra, lighting professionals, families, and friends.
The event was set against the breathtaking backdrop of the re-wilded area of Canberra, where attendees had the privilege of witnessing the magic of the night sky. Some were even fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the elusive Bettong !
The event cemented the activities of Mr Andrew Braddock Member for the ACT Green Party, who raised the parliamentary motion to throw some illumination on public space lighting.
"When public lighting is done well, there is really no downside. Improving the way we light our public spaces at night will make them safer and more attractive, whether it be in our town centres, in our heritage and tourism precincts, or in our suburbs. Improved lighting will lower our energy costs, help our wildlife, and improve human health and wellbeing, all while creating business and tourism opportunities."
FREE Upcoming Webinars
Policy making for Dark Skies
16 OCTOBER - 7pm
Join our community and council webinar to hear from councils around Australia who have implemented dark sky strategies to their local area.
Networking Dark Skies
13 December 7pm
There are a myriad of dark sky activities taking place around Australasia. Join us and share your tips and tricks in dark sky advocacy
Science & Technology
Large-scale human celebrations increase global light pollution
Human activities, particularly cultural events and gatherings that involve artificial lights, like Diwali Christmas, Ramadan, and Chinese New Year, can exacerbate light pollution.
The following article in the British Ecological Society demonstrates that events like Christmas, Ramadan, Diwali, and Chinese New Year coincide with annual peaks in urban nighttime light intensity in corresponding regions.
The New Zealand colour temperature debate heats up
Lighting specialist Bryan King reviews the increasingly controversial debate about the colour of public lighting in New Zealand. https://insite.ipwea.org/the-new-zealand-colour-temperature-debate-heats-up/
Whitsunday Regional Council
Escaping Canberra’s cold weather, I’ve been travelling around Queensland the past month enjoying the warmth with my family. Always keen to spot light reducing measures adopted by other local governments, I was impressed by how the Whitsunday Regional Council has invested heavily in auto dimming public LED lighting in and around Airlie Beach, on shared paths located away from streets and their associated lighting. Each light consists of two rows of LED’s, and in the default setting only one row is illuminated. When motion is detected within about a 20m range, the second row illuminates doubling in brightness. They remain at the higher intensity for around one minute. Perhaps the general public find the brighter lighting level more reassuring, but to be honest I found the default level adequate. And this is a view supported by the relevant ACT Government representatives that have previously met with CAS, the ANU’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and representatives from the Australasian Dark Sky Alliance, where the Government believes it may be more cost effective simply to operate public lights at a lower level of brightness whenever they are on. I’ve conveyed details of what’s happening at Airlie Beach to the ACT Government, and I’ll be contacting them in the near future to ask what light reducing measures will be implemented now that the 2023/24 ACT Budget has been delivered. More on that to follow. Craig Collins CAS Light Pollution Officer.
Sunshine Coast Reduces Light Pollution for turtles
After a meticulous four-year journey, the Sunshine Coast Council unanimously approved its Marine Turtle Conservation Plan last week. This comprehensive plan places significant emphasis on tackling light pollution, a topic that occupied a substantial portion of the council meeting's discussions.
A few months earlier, the public had the opportunity to voice their opinions and cast their votes regarding the key priorities for the plan's allocation of time and resources. Among the top choices were addressing coastal light pollution concerns and the development of a light pollution toolkit for builders—an ambitious move towards a more sustainable and turtle-friendly coastline.
WA’s Astrotourism Towns
Two Western Australian primary schools, part of the Astrotourism Towns communities, recently showcased innovative 3D modeling designs focused on sustainable space development. Gascoyne Junction Remote Community School presented ideas to reduce light pollution, ensuring Earth-based telescopes can conduct vital scientific research. Bindoon Primary School devised specialized games to maintain astronauts' mental fitness during extended space missions. The 2023 Kids in Space Education Program, a collaborative effort by Empire Builders, the Andy Thomas Space Foundation, and the Australian Space Agency, was based on space exploration and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Winning schools received a $6,000 package, including a 3D printer and industry expert sessions.
The Australasian Dark Sky Alliance proudly supports The Beauty in Darkness Outdoor Lighting Competition initiated by WE-EF LIGHTING, serving as a beacon for promoting night-sensitive lighting that blends beauty, functionality, and health.
This competition acknowledges outstanding outdoor lighting projects, focusing on those championed by WE-EF Sales Partners in Australia and New Zealand. We invite entries from these partners, representing specifiers and project teams, to join us in creating a more sustainable and visually captivating nocturnal environment.