Initiative could benefit astronomical telescope users

Lots of people around the UK use astronomical telescopes when they gaze to the skies. Equipment like this helps them get a much clearer picture of what is going on in the universe outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

Individuals who have bought telescopes and are making use of them may welcome an initiative that is being run to raise awareness of the importance of limiting light pollution. After all, in areas where lighting is reduced, individuals can see the stars, planets and so on much more clearly.

Recently, pupils at the King Edward VI School hosted a stargazing evening, the Morpeth Herald reports. Led by Mel Nicholls, ecologist for the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership (AONB) and Northumberland Astronomical Society (NASTRO), the event featured a lecture delivered by NASTRO chairman Dr Adrian Jannetta on space weather and light pollution.

At present, AONB Partnership is working with NASTRO on a series of events involving high schools and the public in a bid to draw attention to the importance of reducing the interference of light pollution.

Commenting on this issue, Ms Nichols said: “It does not mean we need to grope around in the dark. It is about lighting our buildings and spaces in a way that respects the night sky. The long term plan is to develop a series of Dark Sky Discovery Sites throughout the AONB and wider county.

“We are also liaising with Kielder Water and Forest Park and Northumberland National Park to complement their excellent dark sky work.”

If initiatives like this prove to be successful, people with astronomical telescopes may have better viewing opportunities in future. Meanwhile, if people live in areas that are badly affected by light pollution, they can make trips to areas away from cities and other sources of illumination for special viewings.

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