North York Moors National Park backs bid to protect star quality

Light pollution can badly degrade the night sky and rob us of our starry skies and view of the Milky Way.
Light pollution can badly degrade the night sky and rob us of our starry skies and view of the Milky Way.

Businesses and homeowners across the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales are being urged to take steps to help protect the star quality of the national parks’ dark skies as part of a nationwide campaign to reduce light pollution.

The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks have joined other organisations and the Commission for Dark Skies in their support for the Big Dipper campaign.

This aims to draw attention to the light pollution creep caused by beams emitted from powerful external LED floodlights and security lighting.

The National Parks are backing the campaign as they prepare for a number of stargazing and dark sky events during this month’s half-term and the fourth joint Dark Skies Festival which will take place from February 15 to March 3.

In particular the Big Dipper is highlighting how property owners can help reduce the orange-white glow, which is seen above built-up areas and is increasingly spreading across the countryside, by ensuring the beam of light from exterior lamps is dipped downwards rather than projected outwards.

The campaign is backed by Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, who said: “It’s important that efforts are sustained to cut light pollution further so we can all marvel at the night sky.”

Helen Dalton, destination co-ordinator for the Yorkshire Dales National Park, said: “We’re keen to protect our dark skies as a beautiful natural resource which has really engaged visitor interest.”

There is a stargazing session with the Whitby and District Astronomical Society on October 27 at The Moors National Park Centre at Danby.