Public Outreach Manager
Green Bank Observatory
With April comes the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, and International Dark Sky Week, April 19 through April 26, so the Green Bank Science Center decided to launch a West Virginia Dark Skies program to bring awareness to the importance of dark skies to our earth. We are also using this as an opportunity to encourage folks to do some star gazing, as it is a great activity for getting some fresh air while practicing social distancing.
As you know, West Virginia is a particularly wonderful place for star gazing with some of the darkest skies in the eastern United States. In fact, Watoga State Park is currently working to become the first Dark Sky Park in our state. This designation requires a rigorous application pro-cess requiring applicants to demonstrate robust community support for dark sky protection. We feel that a movement could aid in a show of support while also getting our entire state recognized for our dark sky opportunities and efforts.
One mechanism for doing this is garnering dark sky survey responses from citizen-scientists throughout the state in a program called Globe at Night – globeatnight.org
Globe at Night is an international campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting the public to measure and report their night sky brightness observations.
We are encouraging all of our friends and supporters to join in this movement.
Check out our resources to find out what light pollution is, the importance of dark skies to our earth, and the joys of stargazing.
And very importantly – encourage them to complete dark sky surveys from where they live. The next Globe at Night campaign will run from April 14 through April 23, and we hope to blast them with reports from around the state. During this campaign, we will be pushing survey action and sharing resources.
We hope you will join us in doing the same, and feel free to plug #wvdarkskies into your social media efforts.
Completed surveys can be entered to win a night sky observing kit – check out the Green Bank Observatory Facebook page – facebook.com/GreenBank Observatory/ – for more information about this contest and program.