Star-gazers are expected to flock to the Warrumbungle National Park as it becomes Australia’s first ‘dark sky park’.
Located 550km north-west of Sydney, the heritage-listed Warrumbungle National Park has long been recognised for its stunning natural beauty and clear night skies. The park is even home to the Siding Spring Observatory, a working facility that plays a vital role in astronomical research in Australia.
Banning all artificial light from the park, which is believed to be an Australian first, ensures an uninterrupted view of the night sky.
Protecting the park from light pollution is an increasingly important issue for both amateur and professional astronomers, with the southern hemisphere blindingly bright at night. The growing development of nearby communities, including the township of Coonabarabran, has also played a crucial role in the decision to go dark.
To be granted dark sky park status, Warrumbungle National Park had to be approved by the International Dark Sky Association. These ‘dark sky experts’ ensure all applicants adhere to strict guidelines and requirements set by previous dark sky parks – including Death Valley National Park in the U.S.A. and Galloway Forest Park in Scotland.
The news has been met with support and the hope this will put the park, and the towns of western NSW, well and truly on the map.
Warrumbungle National Park is now set to become one of the few places you can view the night sky in all its unobstructed glory, a major drawcard that is sure to appeal to both tourists and the broader scientific community alike.