Lightscape / Night Sky

"Silhouettes of Night"
"Silhouettes of Night"

Michael Foster

The quality of the night sky (its relative darkness) throughout the United States, and the World for that matter, has come under siege. The widespread and rapid rate of development and the associated installation of lights, without thought to the impact those lights have on the night sky is lighting the night sky worldwide. Lighting associated with advertising, building and street illumination, and grounds security all contribute to what is referred to as “light pollution.”

One estimate indicates that about 30 percent of all light generated in the United States is wasted; costing billions of dollars. Outdoor lights provide many benefits but improved consideration of night sky concerns in their design and application would be highly beneficial in reducing light pollution and the associated production of unneeded energy.

In addition to interfering with our ability to see celestial bodies and astronomical events, light pollution has a detrimental environmental impact. Some bird species depend on stars for navigation. Light pollution interferes with their travels. Some believe that declines in moth populations are linked to attraction to lights and subsequent death.

The National Park Service is concerned about our contribution to light pollution and has set policy that seeks to reduce or eliminate the adverse impacts of light pollution. At Obed, park staff members are working to reduce in-park light pollution.
 
Park ranger with telescope
Park ranger with telescope

Astronomy Programs
Since the early 1990s, park staff and volunteers with the Knoxville Observers and ORION Astronomy Clubs have hosted astronomy programs in the dark night skies of the Obed area. The National Park Service, along with partners, conduct night sky outings on a regular basis. Call the park visitor center for dates and more information.

The National Park Service is concerned about our contribution to light pollution and has set policy that seeks to reduce or eliminate the adverse impacts of light pollution. At Obed WSR, staff members are working to reduce light pollution.

To learn more about the efforts to "save the night" click on the links below:

National Park Service's Night Sky Program

International Dark-Sky Association

Videos on the importance of the night sky

 

Losing the Dark- Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, but it also disrupts wildlife and negatively affects human health. Hard to believe? See for yourself: (6:25, Youtube).

Change Your Lights, Save the Nights! Arguably, one of the easiest ways to save the night sky is by changing your light bulbs.

 
Spot the International Space Station
Spot the International Space Station
Curious about the current location of the International Space Station? Click here to find out!

Last updated: December 11, 2017

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208 N. Maiden Street
Wartburg, TN 37887

Phone:

(423) 346-6294

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