ORLANDO, Fla. – Dark skies are quickly becoming harder to find as light pollution expands. Light pollution is any artificial light that is not needed.
International Dark Sky Week aims to bring attention to the movement to bring better lighting to communities around the world. Shielding to target the light, using lower light and motion sensors help to control light pollution.
#DarkSkyWeek stargazing tips: Find a safe dark place near you, let your eyes adjust to the dark, and enjoy! Use a familiar set of stars, like the Big Dipper as a guide to nearby constellations.#ParkSkies #DiscoverTheNight #IDSW2021— Capitol Reef NPS (@CapitolReefNPS) April 7, 2021
Star map by Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP pic.twitter.com/i5jqIAao9G
Light pollution impacts more than just skywatchers. It can have harmful impacts on all living things, including the disruption of wildlife and human health.
The International Dark-Sky Association recognizes communities, park and protected areas around the world to preserve dark skies through responsible lighting and public education. There are more than 130 certified International Dark Sky Places around the world. The Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, just over the Osceola County line, and Big Cypress National Preserve are the only two designated in Florida.
These are popular areas to view the night sky because of their dark skies and commitment to preserving it. While designated dark sky sites are the cream of the crop for skywatching, it doesn’t mean they are the only places with dark skies, of course.
In Central Florida, The Ocala National Forest is also another great place for skywatching to see fainter objects that you cannot see from city or suburban areas.
What’s in the night sky
Early risers have been treated to Jupiter and Saturn in the pre-dawn sky right before sunrise.
The crescent moon will also join in.
April also marks the time when the Galactic Center of our galaxy, the Milky Way, rises above the horizon.
The best time to view the Milky Way is in the summer as it gets higher in the sky, but viewing begins in the month of April. Getting away from lights is a must to view the Milky Way. One of those designated dark sky sites is your best option.