Mid-Murray Skies Receive International Recognition

Photo: Sky in Reserve by @row_an_james, supplied by Commshake

Leading astronomers are in the Murraylands today for an internationally significant milestone.

It is for the launch of the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve, recognising its status as one of the best locations in the world to clearly see stars in the night sky.

From Bowhill to Blanchetown and encompassing the Swan Reach Conservation Park, the 3,200 square kilometre area is one of only three internationally recognised reserves in the Southern Hemisphere, one of 15 in the world and the first to be recognised in Australia.

The River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve is now formally protected from urban light pollution. This is in part thanks to significant shielding from the nearby Mt Lofty Ranges and has been further secured thanks to local government policies which will minimise artificial light in the district long-term.

Darkness is measured on a scale of 0 to 22, with 22 being total darkness. Recent measurements from the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve came in at between 21.97 and 21.99 – making it one of the darkest places on the planet.

Astronomers, environmentalists, tourism stakeholders and community groups are gathering today at the Reserve in Nildottie to celebrate the Mid Murray’s night skies status on an international stage.

 

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Congratulations to River Murray for being designated as the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Australia! Spanning 3,250sq kilometers of territory, this designation is the fifth largest in the world and is the result of a two-year process. ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ The area is already a popular tourism destination for hiking, wildlife watching, nature photography and river cruising. Increasingly, activities focused on stargazing and nighttime tourism have become important in the region and are contributing to local economic development. ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Welcome to the IDA family! ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📸: The cliffs of the Murray River under the stars at night, Swan Reach, South Australia. Photo by Flickr user cjohnlang, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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This article originally appeared on 5MU.com.au.

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