Town declares dark sky week

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In an effort to reduce light pollution in the night skies above Southampton Town, the Town Board has authorized March 29 through April 4 as Dark Sky Week.

The resolution was initiated by Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski and coincides with the national observance of the event, which is determined by the presence of the new moon in April. The new moon provides the best opportunity to view the stars at night, whereas a full moon—like light sources on the surface of Earth—makes it difficult by creating “light pollution,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

During the week of observance, people are asked to limit the amount of non-essential outdoor lighting and to also go outside and view the night sky.

Improper lighting fixtures that direct light into the atmosphere create a hazy blanket across the astral sky and produce light pollution, which not only wastes energy but also limits stargazing.

The resolution states that the Town of Southampton is one of the few places on Long Island that provides a clear view of the Milky Way, which runs across the nighttime sky and serves “not only as a source of wonder but as a stimulus to scientific inquiry.”

According to the NOAA, the presence of light pollution, if not addressed, could threaten the view of the nocturnal landscape.

In the resolution, the Town Board recognizes the night sky over Southampton to be as valuable a natural resource and as much a part of the town’s natural heritage as its scenic vistas, open spaces and farmlands.

The main goal of Dark Sky Week is to raise awareness of the problem and to promote the use of lighting systems that direct beams toward the ground and not into the sky.

The NOAA says that while it is not possible to eradicate all light pollution throughout the world, it is possible to reduce it and make a difference in the quality of the visible night sky.

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