The Bortle scale is a nine-level numeric scale that measures the night sky’s brightness of a particular location. It quantifies the astronomical observability of celestial objects and the interference caused by light pollution. John E. Bortle created the scale and published it in the February 2001 edition of Sky & Telescope magazine to help amateur astronomers evaluate the darkness of an observing site, and secondarily, to compare the darkness of observing sites. The scale ranges from Class 1, the darkest skies available on Earth, through Class 9, inner-city skies.
The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand has a new sign to greet visitors! You can also see the Large Magellanic Cloud, a galaxy visible to the naked eye in the southern hemisphere.
A stunning shot of the Milky Way rising over Rocky Mountain National Park’s Longs Peak. At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak towers above all other summits in Rocky Mountain. The flat-topped monarch is seen from almost anywhere in the park. Photo by Pat Gaines (www.sharetheexperiece.org).
Until recently, for all of human history, our ancestors experienced a sky brimming with stars – a night sky that inspired science, religion, philosophy, literature and art. Unfortunately, we’ll never know the great art we’ve lost to light pollution.
Enjoy these beautiful pieces of art inspired by starry night skies and learn how you can help inspire future generation to invent, create and dream.