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Can You See the Stars in Austria?

Posted October 4, 2018

Austria is one of the more active countries when it comes to dark night skies, although there is still much room for improvement. In Austria, we have a surprisingly high number of astronomy aficionados, some of them even widely known for their beautiful shots of night-time pictures of the celestial objects. There is an even larger community of unknown amateur astronomers, who gaze at the sky at night through their binoculars, telescopes or DLSRs. They all need dark skies.

Starry sky. Image credit: FelixMittermeier via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

But, perhaps most importantly, not only private individuals have developed an interest to preserve the starry sky. The regional governments of all nine Austrian provinces have united and published official Guidelines for Exterior Illumination, specifically addressing municipalities as well as building contractors. These guidelines describe how too much artificial light at night negatively affects our lives and ecosystem.

The document includes many detailed and easy-to-understand illustrations, figures and comparison pictures. They show how lighting systems can be improved to establish a healthier environment and help keep the stars visible at night. The 88-page publication is available in German and can be downloaded as PDF (6MB) here:

Recently, two Austrian towns have modernized their public lighting conformant with these guidelines. They documented their success and the feedback they received in a short documentary movie. Watch the English synced version of their inspiring clip here:

So, to answer the question in the headline: Not from everywhere, but we are working on it!

At project nightflight, we are happy that so many people in Austria want the stars to remain visible also for future generations. After all, the best motor for communities to opt for healthy night-time lighting is public awareness. One of our own public awareness projects, the Grossmugl Starwalk is attracting visitors from Austria and abroad on a regular basis. We hope that many countries around the world will follow Austria’s example.

Source: Project Nightflight

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