One thing we love about living here in Ogden Valley is the clear night skies. With Ogden, the nearest major city, located approximately ten miles away over the Wasatch Mountains, much of Ogden Valley is unfazed by the light pollution that affects the Wasatch Front. This makes Ogden Valley a prime destination for local amateur stargazers and astronomers from Ogden and the surrounding areas. To celebrate Ogden Valley's beautiful night skies, the Ogden Astronomical Society and the Ogden Valley GEM Committee have teamed up to present Ogden Valley Starry Nights on Friday, May 10th.
Ogden Valley Starry Nights is a "fun, free, family-friendly star party,"according to www.starrynightsutah.org. The festivities will begin at 8:30 pm at Eden Park. A few telescopes will be available, but if you plan to attend, you are encouraged to bring your own telescope (if you own one) or a pair of binoculars.
The purpose of this Ogden Valley Starry Nights event is two-fold. In addition to celebrating the wonders of the night sky, the Ogden Astronomical Society and the Ogden Valley GEM Committee wish to educate the public about a growing issue in Ogden Valley: light pollution.
It's true that the light pollution in Ogden Valley is much less severe than other areas along the Wasatch Front, but it could be better. Because of increased development in the Ogden Valley, the town of Huntsville received a Bortle Scale rating (a rating indicating the level of light pollution in the sky) of 4.5 in 2001. Since this data is twelve years old, the Ogden Valley GEM Committe speculates that the area's Bortle Scale rating is now around 5.0 - and that's not good. At this level, the Milky Way - one of the most spectacular sights in the night sky - is no longer visible.
Light pollution not only has countless ill effects on visibility, but it can also be harmful to air quality, wildlife, and our own health. According to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), excess light pollution can contribute to poor air quality; disrupt the migration patterns and reproduction cycles of wildlife; and interfere with our own circadian rhythms and sleeping patterns, which in turn "contributes to issues of mood, weight and blood sugar."
We can all agree that none of us want to see the aforementioned effects of light pollution occur in our Ogden Valley. Our picturesque corner of Utah is unlike any other place in northern Utah. Life is innocent here, and we respect our natural surroundings. The night sky is just as much a part of the natural surroundings as Pineview Reservoir or the Monte Cristo Mountains.
So, to learn how you can do your part to lessen or diminish entirely the impact of light pollution on the skies above Ogden Valley, join us at Eden Park in Eden for Ogden Valley Starry Nights on the evening of May 10th. We also encourage you to visit www.starrynightsutah.com for more information regarding safety and proper lighting measures you can begin using now to reduce the light pollution at your home.
If you plan on attending Ogden Valley Starry Nights, bring your kids or your spouse and make an evening of it. Before heading to Eden Park, stop at Gravitea for some vegan food, organic smoothies or delicious teas. Or visit one of the other fine restaurants in the Ogden Valley, such as Alpine Pizza, Eats of Eden, Mad Moose Cafe, or The Oaks in Ogden Canyon. Also, plan a stay at one of the many fine lodging accommodations in the Valley, such as Lakeside Resort Properties. You'll find plenty of things to do in Ogden Valley, and Ogden Valley Starry Nights is a great event to plan your festivities around.
To see more upcoming events in Ogden Valley, click here.
Trent Olsen contributed to this article.
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