New essential publication. The sky of Extremadura

When the sun goes down, Extremadura wakes up… little by little the sky darkens while the colors of the sunset redden the celestial vault until, about an hour later, we can contemplate a wonderful spectacle above us: the starry sky.

Extremadura, due to its low light pollution and the excellent conservation of its natural heritage, has extraordinary conditions for astronomical observation. So much so that, in some parts of the Extremadura region, the night is so dark that the billions of stars that make up our Galaxy, the Milky Way, come to illuminate the night landscapes. This publication, coordinated by Lorenzo Cordero, is an extraordinary proposal that will help us to know the full potential of Extremadura and its star-studded nights.

On the other hand, Extremadura, thanks to its unique geographic and demographic characteristics, is the ideal scenario for light pollution laboratories (LPL). Both the province of Cáceres and Badajoz have areas with low cloud cover and low population density, which makes it possible to install night-time photometer networks for light pollution studies. In addition, the sustainability policies carried out by the Regional Government of Extremadura and the two Provincial Councils have contributed to the change of lights and the creation/adoption of regulations and ordinances in different municipalities.

At present, Extremadura not only has clean skies for Astrotourism activities, but will also have the largest network of night photometers for the study of the propagation of artificial nighttime light in the atmosphere.

The results of the first light pollution experiment conducted on the occasion of the summer solstice last June 2022 are promising. About 15 night photometers measured the zenithal sky brightness throughout the nights of June 18 and 19. In a controlled manner, all the public lights in Valverde de Burguillos were switched off. Quite a spectacle. ALL the lights of the town were turned off simultaneously and suddenly the Universe appeared. The night photometers and atmospheric aerosol detectors were taking data every five minutes without interruption. Thanks to this type of experiments we are advancing in the knowledge of how light pollution propagates in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Extremadura, good night has become a resource that contributes to the welfare, dignity and quality of life of citizens. By protecting the darkness of the night skies we protect our immediate environment, fauna and flora, as well as ourselves, from the dysfunctions and harmful effects, widely demonstrated by scientific studies, that light pollution generates in living beings.

This new publication of Extremadura, buenas noches, also aims to provide extensive knowledge on how to observe the sky or celestial objects; what to see on the Moon or how to photograph it; the details of the Sun or the constellations themselves…. But you will have to dive into it to discover much more content that will be useful when you are in front of the Universe.

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