Fourth of July Creek, Stanley, ID Photo by 2021 UCLA IoES Practicum
Fourth of July Creek, Stanley, ID Photo by 2021 UCLA IoES Practicum

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Student Blog: Sky Quality Camera: A Tool to Track and Analyze Light Pollution in the CIDSR

By Jules de la Cruz

Artificial brightening of the night sky — also known as light pollution — has become a significant issue in the past few decades. As the amount of unilluminated territory worldwide dwindles, areas established to protect and prioritize natural darkness have become a scarce and highly valuable resource. While their value is certainly connected to recreational usage and tourism, it extends beyond that, acting as a sanctuary for ecological, cultural, and astronomical purposes as well. The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve is one of the few parcels of land designated for preserving darkness and the first gold-tier dark sky preserve in the United States. Officially established by the IDA in 2017, it was created to protect the sanctity of nighttime from light pollution. However, as cities surrounding the reserve intensify their artificial lighting regimes, the need to monitor light pollution within the reserve itself becomes essential.

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