Visitors to and residents of our area are often amazed at the beauty of our night sky. On a clear night we see why it is called the Milky Way. The stars sparkle and twinkle like diamonds, and lead to all sorts of discussions about just what might be out there.
One of AIDA’s aims is to support planning controls that preserve the visibility of the night sky by limiting artificial lighting on the exterior of commercial buildings. This aim also extends to the unnecessary installation of street lighting. As part of AIDA’s policy on maintaining the darkness of the night sky it is a member of the International Dark Sky Association: https://www.darksky.org
The association is dedicated to the protection of our night sky from light pollution.
As residents we can play our part in keeping the night sky dark by not using unnecessary external lighting, and by closing curtains and blinds at night. Unnecessary lighting not only dilutes the beauty of the darkness, but is also a waste of energy, as well as affecting the circadian rhythms of nocturnal animals. When external lighting is needed perhaps a low light that illuminates a path is more suitable than a bright overhead light. The recent emergence of astrotourism and astronomical photography is another reason to preserve the night sky. Astrotourism has emerged as a key travel trend in the last few years, so much so that Lonely Planet has just released Dark Skies, a tourism guide to dark skies. The book includes thirty-five dark sky sites and over sixty dark sky accredited National Parks – mostly in remote places. Aireys and Moggs Creek are ideally placed to offer dark sky tours to visitors. Because of the proximity to Melbourne, and minimal lighting, astronomical tourism is perhaps something that could be developed as a way to encourage visitors to stay longer and explore the area.