When’s the last time you took the time to really enjoy the view of a clear night sky?
Chances are, most of us can’t remember the last time we looked up from our phone, and even if we did, the night sky is nowhere near as impressive when viewed through the heavy light pollution of the average urban centre.
It typically takes an evening of travel outside the city, whether it be a camping trip, visit to the cabin or weekend on the lake, to be in a position to view the endless awe-inspiring view of unfettered space… but those who have seen it, certainly appreciate it.
Some of us, lucky enough to be raised in a rural area, can attest to the true wonder of a night sky littered with countless stars, planets and other galactic wonders.
Who doesn’t remember that road trip with the family when they saw the Northern Lights for the first time?
Or the first time you took a closer look at the wonders of the universe through a telescope?
And who among us didn’t get a thrill wishing on a star shooting across the cosmos from the warmth of a campfire, surrounded by friends and family?
These connections to the universe around us are something that some feel shouldn’t be traded for the razzle dazzle and impersonal experiences of big city lights. As shops and shadows continue to grow all around us, it’s nice to know that there are still a few areas in Calgary where you can still sit back and observe, from the comforts of your urban dwelling.
Looking to capture that type of experience, but still live within the city limits? Well, you can!
Fortunately for people like you, communities like Artesia have dedicated efforts to ensure the design and ordinance of their outdoor lighting, preserves the opportunity to view the night sky in a way that is not obstructed by light. Only those communities that go above and beyond in the areas of outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies through dark sky stewardship, and by setting good examples for surrounding communities achieve recognition as an official International Dark Sky (IDS) Community — and Artesia’s commitment to as little artificial light and light pollution as possible, qualifies them as such.
The lack of promotional signage, LED street lamps, strategic overhead shielding of light all contribute to less obtrusive lighting, and less light can help you get to sleep longer, and it’s even better for nocturnal animals that require the dark for safety.
In addition to being an excellent fit for stargazers, dark sky communities, parks, urban sky and preserves connects Albertans back to their historic roots and the old western towns’ time-honored tradition of nights spent outdoors around the fire.
As well, communities that have adopted the dark sky mentality, often provide educational assets and host events that cater to learning more about the benefits of Dark Skies, and the wonders that we would otherwise miss, occurring all around us.
Here in Alberta, we have several communities and townships that have committed to Dark Sky initiatives, including Priddis, Foothill County, Fraser Valley, Bon Accord, Jasper and more.
A quick visit to the Foothills County website will equip you with a plethora of information about Dark Sky Initiatives including research papers, location listings and these two videos:
Join the Dark Night Nocturnal Preserve: A look at the nocturnal activities influenced by the light of night.
Underneath the Dark Skies: A short documentary about our Rothney Astrophysical Observatory produced by Rinaldi Guilinao and crew of SAIT.
Like what you see? Then you’ll love Artesia – a community offering everything you could want under the sun, and stars.