Did you know that the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula declared itself a Dark Sky community on Aug 23 of 2004? In essence this means that the Municipality realizes the unique beauty of the night sky as viewed from the Northern Bruce Peninsula and will now provide leadership to other communities in preserving it. This involves retrofitting existing lighting in the community to use dark sky friendly fixtures and also reviewing future developments in the community to ensure they also are dark sky friendly.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) then designated the areas within Fathom Five National Marine Park and Bruce Peninsula National Park as Canada’s eight official Dark Sky Preserve in March of 2009. There are now 14 designated Dark Sky preserves in Canada as well as one RASC recognized Urban Star Park. The complete list of Dark Sky Perserves can be found on the RASC website. To meet the requirements of a Dark Sky Preserve, the area must satisfy the following criteria:
- No visible artificial lighting is visible
- There must be active measures in place to promote and educate municipalities on the reduction of light pollution
- Sky glow from beyond the borders of the Preserve will be of comparable intensity, or less, to that of natural sky glow.
So what does this mean to you? Well first off – it means great viewing of the night sky. If you are at all interested in Astronomy or just being able to take a walk at night and look up and see the Milky Way or the Northern Lights, the Northern Bruce is the right place. The Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association in association with the Bruce Peninsula Environment Group also operates the wildly successful Bayside Astronomy Program – where experts give star talks, participants can do some naked eye astronomy (as fun and sexy as it sounds!) and look through some telescopes set up by local amateur astronomers. These events are held at various locations around the Northern Bruce such as Lions Head, Miller Family Camp, BP National Park and Summerhouse Park. The Lions Head location even has a viewing platform built by locals on the north shore of the lighthouse:
The summer program for 2014 can be found below:
Of course there is no such thing as a free lunch, to keep the skies dark, we all need to make some changes. Here are some things you can do to make a difference:
Enjoy the dark skies!