Olympic Telescope The Need For Dark Skies
Starry night skies are components of the special places the National Park Service protects. Our national parks hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness and provide opportunities for the public to experience this critical resource. Animals rely on natural cycles of light and dark for navigation, protection, mating and predation. Natural lightscapes are integral to many cultures. Light pollution disrupts these relationships. The NPS works to preserve pristine night viewing for future generations.
Olympic National Park is large and 95% of the park is designated wilderness. This helps make the skies at Hurricane RIdge quite dark, and this makes the views in telescopes much better. On a clear night, the Milky Way is amazing and it is dark enough to spot the Andromeda Galaxy with the naked eye. But on most nights, there is a moderately bright ring of light to the south-east near the horizon. Most of that glow is from the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma metropolis. As our cities grow, we must advocate for wise decisions in night lighting so that the darkness can be preserved.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) leads the fight for dark skies and works for dark sky preserves. Visit their website and consider membership. For more info, watch the IDA documentary "Losing the Dark" -- here's the link. Also, check out a couple of cool videos from Dark Ranger Kevin Poe, including "Fading Stars, Dying Stories." Kevin is from Bryce Canyon National Park.
The Olympic Dark Rangers are defenders of dark skies.
Making wiser choices with night lighting can eliminate light pollution. This would benefit nature and mankind in many ways. Meanwhile, our national parks remain committed to preserving dark skies.
Learn how you can help combat light pollution. Look for more information to be posted here in 2022-2023 about the efforts to make ONP a dark sky site as recognized by the International Dark Sky Association.