Stargazers create conflicting lighting requirements

Stargazers could experience a new balance between a lively night sky above and a safe guide below on future forays into parks and nature reserves. The US National Parks Service is working with the Illuminating Engineering Society to develop an outdoor lighting standard that supports safety and navigability with minimal violation of night sky viewing.

“For many national park visitors, staring at the night sky while the Milky Way roams overhead is a quintessential experience. Even national parks near urban centers often serve as night sky sanctuaries for those living in our most populous cities, ”said Karen Trevino, chief administrator for nature sounds and night skies for the National Parks Service.

While the needs of US national parks are at the center of the work, operators of camps, resorts, and other recreational areas in rural and wilderness areas are expected to apply the resulting standards and best practices for lighting installations in interface zones between busier areas and remote locations and views.

“This partnership will foster a shared understanding of the importance of the natural night sky and the effects of light on the national park’s resources and values, including wildlife, cultural resources and values, wilderness character, and visitor experience and enjoyment of those same resources,” said Brian Liebel, Director for standards and research at the Illuminating Engineering Society.

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