\The Dark Sky Preserve in Jasper provides a beautiful night sky to anyone who escapes the city's light and noise pollution.

\The Dark Sky Preserve in Jasper provides a beautiful night sky to anyone who escapes the city's light and noise pollution.

Cosmic extravagance only a dark night sky away

Dark Sky Preserves bring the Milky Way' galaxy to life

Many of the mysteries deep within the night sky can only be solved in vast areas of darkness, and achieving that evening darkness could soon be possible in Invermere.

To test the local interest, Rogier Gruys, a tourism specialist for Parks Canada in Jasper National Park, will be at David Thompson High School on Thursday, April 4th at 7:30 p.m. for a discussion on the value of dark skies and natural soundscapes. The event, titled “Looking and Listening: Dark Skies and Quiet Spaces”, will be hosted by Wildsight Invermere.

“We try to preserve naturally dark skies, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that all the lights have to be turned off,” Gruys told The Valley Echo. “Lights can point straight down so that they can be used to illuminate paths or the space that needs lighting — but not letting the light shine up into the sky.”

Gruys’ visit to Invermere will promote the idea that naturally dark skies are an important and valuable asset for any community — especially tourist-based.

“I’m going to talk a little about what a Dark Sky Preserve is, and how we in Jasper became a dark sky preserve,” said Gruys. “I’ll have a few examples of what people in Invermere can do, or even if there’s a dark sky organization willing to commence in that area. It doesn’t have to be in a  National Park. I’ll encourage people to see what they can do around Invermere.”

Working from Jasper, Gruys promotes dark skies in a very well-known preserve.

“We’re actually world leaders. We have more dark sky preserves in Canada than there are in all the rest of the world combined, and Jasper is the biggest in the world currently in terms of land mass,” he said.

Gruys aims to increase awareness of the natural aspects offered by the night sky.

“Children grow up in cities and they look up at the sky, and they may see the moon and one planet, but they may not know that there’s a whole Milky Way out there,” Gruys said. “Just to see a shooting star is magic for a kid, but they may never see that in a city.”

Onlookers will often find themselves “mesmerized” just looking at the sky on their backs, he said.

Jasper was officially recorded as the world’s largest dark sky preserve in March 2011, when the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada made the formal designation.

Every year dark sky preserves get added to the official list, but the biggest challenge to promote the preserves are funding and communal unity.

Co-ordinators have been known to make special efforts in the event of meteor showers, an eclipse, and cosmic rays.

Astronomers, star gazers and photographers alike can especially appreciate the collaborative effort of a dark night.

But the naked eye, or even basic binoculars, will allow anybody to greatly enjoy a dark sky preserve, Gruys said.

“Millions of stars will really play to the imagination of kids and adults alike,” he said.

Admission to Thursday’s presentation will be by donation.

For more information about the presentation, contact invermere@wildsight.ca.

 

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read