Europe's first "dark sky park"

11 years 3 months ago #75765 by artyfarty
Europe's first "dark sky park" was created by artyfarty
I know it's not strictly about Irish dark skies but I think it's of interest to the readers of this section, fee free to move it if needs be.

From the car park in the foothills of the Range of the Awful Hand, it is a short walk to what may be the darkest place in the country. Drive up here after sunset and you are unlikely to set eyes on another soul, yet the site is famous among a small group of enthusiasts who come here in the black of night to stand, watch and wonder.

The patch of ground in the imposing row of mountains is surrounded by 300 square miles of moorland, woods and lochs that form the rugged wilderness of Galloway Forest Park in southern Scotland, and in a few weeks, officers at the forest will take steps towards making it Europe's first official dark sky park.

Full story here

Anybody interested in a trip?

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11 years 3 months ago #75772 by calchas
Replied by calchas on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
I'd be interested, Had been thinking of a trip to Keilder. Galloway may be warmer (relatively :) ).

Looks like an easy trip across from the north to Stranraer. Should be places to camp easily.

Clear skies
Steve

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11 years 3 months ago - 11 years 3 months ago #75775 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Excellent!
Thanks for the heads up on this.
The place looks awesome and easy to get to.

I did up a google earth place mark for it.
http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/download.php?Number=1277794

as seen from the view in this picture:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_of_the_Awful_Hand

I suspect if you went off road you may need to bookmark this page:
http://www.gallowaymrt.org.uk/public/galloway.shtm

Are there any nearby Scottish clubs running anything in the area this year I wonder?
It'd be worth checking out.

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11 years 3 months ago - 11 years 3 months ago #75776 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
When are we going!? :woohoo:

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11 years 3 months ago - 11 years 3 months ago #75778 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
I'd be up for that!

Read the full article and found it quite interesting. In only a short space of time (since the formation of the IDA) awareness has really been keen in the idea of preserving dark skies. To actually have a park dedicated to it for astronomical adventures is cool. It is probably like an untapped resource. After all, European astronomers head to the Mid-west of America and the Australian outback to get dark skies for astrophotography. Now this place is closer to home!

I wonder how Terry Moseley's fixed...

Seanie.

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11 years 3 months ago #75782 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Yip, and they go there coz they are gonna get near 100% clear skies.
You have to have a good guarentee of good weather.
I've seen other clubs organize trips to Mt. Tiede and the like.
heck, some of us here went to Mt. Parnon.
Now THAT was dark!
It's not that hard to do, you just want to really want to go!
If this place is as good as they make out the only thing to
worry about is the weather.
It'd make for an good trip anyway.

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11 years 3 months ago #75785 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Yea, getting there is easy-peasy.
It's the unpredictable nature of the weather is the main problem.
Sounds like it would be a nice place to rent a cottage in the summer/autumn anyway.
Should be good scenery there too.

Michael.

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11 years 3 months ago #75786 by artyfarty
Replied by artyfarty on topic Re:Europe's first
michaeloconnell wrote:

Sounds like it would be a nice place to rent a cottage in the summer/autumn anyway.
Should be good scenery there too.


As for accommodation have a look at this: click here

And the local club details are here: Wigtownshire Astronomical Society

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11 years 3 months ago #75804 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Re:Europe's first
I did a quick check.
Ryanair fly into Prestwick and at the moment
you can book a return from Shannon including taxes for a tenner.
3 days car hire for would be 100
A Single/Twin Room & meals for 3 nights at that place would cost 100.
Factor in petrol and you could do a 3 day visit for around 300 Euro.
Less if you went for 2 nights.

I looked at the ferry from Belfast to Stranrar
which runs quite often and may suit those up north.
I'd think about driving over but you would want to make it a
week to be worthwhile.

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11 years 3 months ago #75809 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
So, what dates have you got planned for the IFAS Dark Skies Trek to Galloway Frank?

;)

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11 years 3 months ago #75815 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Anytime around the New Moon and I'm game!


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10 years 4 months ago #82276 by Conn Buckley
Replied by Conn Buckley on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
This weekend's Sunday Times Travel supplement has an article on Galloway Forest park and the author's (Jeremy Lazell)unsuccessful attempt to do some observing there .. rain!
He gives the usual info/cost/contact details and goes on to say that while Galloway is the only Dark Sky park in Britain that 'on the Philip's Dark Skies map it is not the only grey patch'.
He gives detail of a few other 'grey patches' in England/Wales and interestingly gives a good plug for 'grey patches' in the West Of Ireland.
He gives the Kerry Astronomy Club web address and mentions Ladies View car park 'for fantastic open-sky views'. He also gives SAC web address 'that holds events on the wild,abandoned Burren which has fantastically dark 360-degree views'.
Sorry, I did not manage to find a link to the article.

Conn Buckley.

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10 years 4 months ago - 10 years 4 months ago #82280 by dave_lillis
Replied by dave_lillis on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Interesting site to visit, I've heard of it before and is a well known dark area.
As per usual in the north atlantic, the big variable is the weather. You think we get rain here??, its actually worse in Scotland.
Have you seen this link,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Range_of_the_Awful_Hand
What a cool looking area, not a tree in sight, I could stay up there in a tent for a week if the weather was reasonable, B&B otherwise.
I'd be game if others were going. :rock:
although it breaks my golden rules on holidaying/observing.

Never go anywhere for observing if its wetter, further north and looks green on a satellite image. :silly:


Jeremy Lazell sure as hell picked a bad weekend for observing :laugh:

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10 years 4 months ago #82301 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Well spotted Conn.
Here is the online text:
www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/travel/destina...null&offset=0&page=1

It's great to see Ireland getting a mention.
I think it's time to plan that trip we were discussing above!!

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10 years 4 months ago #82366 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re:Europe's first
Sometimes I despair.

Galloway recently became the first Dark Sky park in Europe. Now, we have darker skies in parts of this country and better weather. But there is more enthusiasm here to go on a trip to Galloway than there is to do something like work to get an dark skies reserve here. Then again this is a forum where the is a thread advocating light polluted skies for astronomy.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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10 years 4 months ago #82368 by Paul Evans
Replied by Paul Evans on topic Re:Europe's first
I've approached the NI Forestry Commission with a view to getting the same status for Glenariff Forest Park in NI. I'd suggest you guys in the South probably have even darker places you could nominate.

Paul.

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10 years 4 months ago #82369 by Neill
Replied by Neill on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Indeed, what about the Burren as just one example?

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10 years 4 months ago #82371 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Re:Europe's first
albertw wrote:

Sometimes I despair.

Galloway recently became the first Dark Sky park in Europe. Now, we have darker skies in parts of this country and better weather. But there is more enthusiasm here to go on a trip to Galloway than there is to do something like work to get an dark skies reserve here. Then again this is a forum where the is a thread advocating light polluted skies for astronomy.


Albert - I'm sure that if ILPAC came up with a couple of candidates here in Ireland you would have the full support of all the folks on this forum. If there is anything we can do to engage in such an exercise, we're all ears and we'd be fully supportive.

I think the thread you refer to was hardly advocating light pollution - perhaps one or two individuals expressed a positive opinion on light pollution but that's hardly indicative of this forum in general and the contributors as a whole supporting such a view...

Cheers
Dave

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10 years 3 months ago - 10 years 3 months ago #82668 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re:Europe's first

dmcdona wrote:Albert - I'm sure that if ILPAC came up with a couple of candidates here in Ireland you would have the full support of all the folks on this forum. If there is anything we can do to engage in such an exercise, we're all ears and we'd be fully supportive.


I'm sure there would be no shortage of support Dave. It's the going out and doing the work bit that there is a shortage of. Really we need to get to the stage where all amateur astronomers are out doing their bit, advocating better lighting, showing the dangers of bad lighting and getting some change and where the like of ILPAC and the IDA are supporting them.

Some of you organise star parties and observing sessions in or near national parks - can you talk to the local rangers about light pollution? I'd be happy to facilitate a conference all with the key people behind the Galloway project and parks officials here if we have some interest from the parks here.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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10 years 3 months ago #82669 by albertw
Replied by albertw on topic Re:Europe's first

dmcdona wrote:
I think the thread you refer to was hardly advocating light pollution - perhaps one or two individuals expressed a positive opinion on light pollution but that's hardly indicative of this forum in general and the contributors as a whole supporting such a view...


True, however the amateur astronomy community in Ireland seems very apathetic about doing anything with regard to light pollution.

Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/

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10 years 3 months ago - 10 years 3 months ago #82679 by carlobeirnes
Replied by carlobeirnes on topic Re:Europe's first
albertw wrote:

dmcdona wrote:Albert - I'm sure that if ILPAC came up with a couple of candidates here in Ireland you would have the full support of all the folks on this forum. If there is anything we can do to engage in such an exercise, we're all ears and we'd be fully supportive.


I'm sure there would be no shortage of support Dave. It's the going out and doing the work bit that there is a shortage of. Really we need to get to the stage where all amateur astronomers are out doing their bit, advocating better lighting, showing the dangers of bad lighting and getting some change and where the like of ILPAC and the IDA are supporting them.

Some of you organise star parties and observing sessions in or near national parks - can you talk to the local rangers about light pollution? I'd be happy to facilitate a conference all with the key people behind the Galloway project and parks officials here if we have some interest from the parks here.


I agree with you on this one Albert. Getting support is great but getting people off their backsides is another thing. The government/politicians/councils don’t seem to give a rat’s ass about the problem of light pollution in this country.

This just sums it up

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10 years 3 months ago #82718 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Re:Europe's first
albertw wrote:
Some of you organise star parties and observing sessions in or near national parks - can you talk to the local rangers about light pollution? I'd be happy to facilitate a conference all with the key people behind the Galloway project and parks officials here if we have some interest from the parks here.[/quote]

When I was doing the initial digging for the Burren Starparty
I spoke to the people in Shannon Development and also
the rangers at the park and explained all about Galloway etc.
I went so far as to show the locals some of the photos of the
Milky Way I had taken in Greece a year before to show them
the benefits.
I also spoke to the attendees on the night of the observing up in the Burren
at the Caherconnel Ring Fort media centre about the importance
of keeping the parks skies dark and said it was akin to
conservation.
The locals there really got behind it and went 'lights out' for the night
as some of the board
members here that were there on the night can tell you - It was
great to see - Apart from the FOG! : blink:

In fact,
when we go up there now I ring the owners of the centre
and they kindly switch off the security lights and this
makes a huge improvement.
They are really helpful people and we are lucky they
understand us.


Anyway - it's a great start and I'm sure there would be room
for improvement.
If you have any strategy or ideas about how to go forward
Albert - just give me a mail or a ring..
I'd be more than happy to see what we could do.

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10 years 3 months ago #82720 by jeyjey
Replied by jeyjey on topic Re:Europe's first
Frank & Albert --

It only now occurs to me that An Taisce owns land within the Burren National Park, which gives us some influence in the park's operation. I'm sure we'd be more than happy to support a proposal to make the Burren National Park a Dark Sky Park.

I'm not very familiar with the area, though. Are there good viewing places within the park itself? (I know the star party is held a bit outside of the park.)

-- Jeff (National Secretary, An Taisce).

(An Taisce also own land adjoining Glenveagh National Park in Donegal, which might give us some leverage there too.)

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10 years 3 months ago #82721 by darragh
Replied by darragh on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Just a few thoughts from my experince with wildlife photography....
Some of the wildlife organisation like BirdWatch Ireland, the Irish Wildlife Trust and the National Parks and Wildlife service could be approached about setting up dark sky areas as light pollution affects wildlife as well.
It's a known problem in some bird species like Manx Shearwater who use the full moon to fledge but can fledge at the wrong time of the year by confusing light pollution with the full moon.
All of these organisations have a mandate for wildlife conservation

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10 years 3 months ago #82731 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Re:Europe's first "dark sky park"
Interesting!
I can safely say I could arrange a talk
on light pollution in the Caherconnell Centre
with the help of the owners.
I also have a contact in Burren Beo and they do monthly
talks as do the walking club.
The people in this area from my experience are
very approachable and helpful.

I'm open to maybe getting the ball rolling here
if there was a plan.

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