The night sky above the Snowdonia National Park has become Wales’ second and only 10th in the world to be granted the special status of an international dark sky reserve. What does this mean? It means the quality of the night air is outstanding and real efforts are being made to reduce light pollution.
The Dark Sky Institute in Arizona, United States announced the success earlier on this month, with the Chief Executive of Snowdonia National Park Authority Emyr Williams, commenting, “Receiving this designation is very good news for the residents, businesses, visitors and the wildlife of Snowdonia”.
The ten International Dark Sky Reserves in the world are as listed:
Aoraki Mackenzie, New Zealand
Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
National Park Exmoor, England
Nature Reserve NamibRand, Namibia
Pic du Midi, France
Snowdonia National Park, Wales
Emyr Williams also commented, “the quality of the environment will be protected, there will be a new natural attraction to attract new visitors to Snowdonia on quiet periods of the year, the local economy will be improved and the dark sky above Snowdonia will be protected for future generations”.
Rhys Owen, head of the authority’s Agriculture, Conservation & Woodlands Service said, “In winning this status, we also hope to not only protect the environment and enhance the biodiversity and dark skies of the area, but we will go a step further than other designations in the world by raising awareness of the features that link the stars of our culture, from the Mabinogi to the old penillion!”
Moving forward from the winning status, stargazing events for beginners are being held at Llyn Geirionnydd near Trefriw on Tuesday 14th December. During the evening an introduction to astrophotography will be held in Croeser on an evening when the meteor shower from the Gemini constellation is expected to be seen.