The Dark Sky Project was originally completed in 2008.
One of the problems that any Observatory experiences is unwanted ambient light (also known as light pollution). Although light pollution is a concern for us, we are fortunate in that the surrounding hills tend to block major potential light sources emanating from the middle of Sherbrooke. Also, the height of the Observatory (5th floor) tends to eliminate serious light pollution problems that are clearly evident at ground level.
However, there are some problem areas that need to be addressed and Bishop's is committed to reducing their effects. In fact, some lights have already been replaced with more astronomy-friendly fixtures and others have been adjusted to be more downwards pointing.
The Bishop's University Astronomical Observatory also benefits from being located inside the newly created International Dark Sky Reserve of Mont-Mégantic. Local municipalities, utilities, Quebec government, and other interested institutions (such as Bishop's) are cooperating to reduce light pollution.
In order to achieve this objective and to make Bishop's University a "greener" and more energy efficient consumer, a study was initiated to:
- create an inventory of outdoor lighting;
- determine which lights have the most detrimental effect on seeing at our Observatory;
- make wide ranging recommendations with respect to changing fixtures, bulbs, and adjusting/shielding lights.
The report can be found below. Also available are three interactive PDF files showing the locations of lights on campus buildings, campus street lights, and lights that can be seen from the Observatory. Click on the boxes in these files to see the detailed information and the associated pictures.