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Dark vs. super dark

The difference between good and outstanding skies.
RELATED TOPICS: OBSERVING
bob_berman_2009
Lecturing takes me to star parties around the U.S. It’s fun to see what excites backyard astronomers, and I feel honored to look through home-built telescopes. Yet interestingly, many of these gatherings are held under skies that are good — but not excellent.

This isn’t a criticism. In three northeastern states, the most rural possible location is still within 30 miles (50 kilometers) of a city, producing bright glows in multiple directions. This is a central issue and battle cry for organizations like the International Dark-Sky Association, which tirelessly tries to limit waste lighting and unshielded yard lights.

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