Next February’s Dark Skies Festival will showcase not just the beauty of the night sky above both the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Park but also how important it is for light pollution to be curbed.
The Festival has become a popular half-term fixture for thousands of people to enjoy spending time outdoors under a star-studded sky whether it’s going on a nocturnal wildlife walk, a stargazing safari, a kayaking or cycling evening, or learning astro photography skills.
However the Festival also highlights the fragility of the night sky and how both the natural world and the wellbeing of humans depends on it being protected from artificial light pollution.
When both National Parks achieved International Dark Sky Reserve status in December 2020, joining a select band of global places, it only marked the start of work to preserve and enhance their night skies so they are safeguarded from light pollution.
This has included a comprehensive programme of monitoring artificial light levels and working with businesses, local councils and homeowners to improve external lighting.
For instance, it can be simply adjusting the angle of a floodlight on the side of a building to direct the beam more precisely rather than scattering rays of wasted light. Or it could be introducing dimmers or motion sensors on external lights or using less harsh LED lighting on streets.
The benefits of curbing light pollution are numerous – from protecting the body clock of nocturnal animals, the migratory patterns of birds, the work of night pollinating insects right through to our own wellbeing which is adversely affected when circadian rhythms are disrupted by artificial light.
The Festival takes place between 10 and 26 February 2023 at numerous venues across both the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.
For more information and booking details go to https://www.darkskiesnationalparks.org.uk/