Online Originals: Albemarle Peninsula home to largest stretch of dark skies on east coast

Online Originals

Did you know that Eastern North Carolina is home to the largest stretch of truly dark skies on the east coast?

That’s according to a Facebook post made by A Time for Science.

Recently, the organization partnered up with NC Land of Water to conduct a ground-level night sky survey to see just how rich the night sky in Eastern North Carolina is.

They focused on the Albemarle Peninsula. The area includes Dare, Tyrell, Washington and Hyde counties.

The survey tested the levels of light pollution in an area.

The primary piece of equipment used was a sky quality meter. It looks at the part of the sky directly overhead and measures the sky glow, according to Brian Baker, the Director of Astronomy at A Time for Science. It allows researchers to rate how well you can see the sky and the stars.

The Albemarle Peninsula

“If you have, say, a full moon out and you’re in a well-lit area, you might get a sky quality reading of 16,” said Baker. “If you’re in a pristine dark area, you can get anywhere from 21.75 to 22 rating. Those are the kind of readings we were getting out in the area.”

The Albemarle Peninsula is primarily agricultural land and protected wildlife and state parks with a low population.

Baker says the end goal for A Time For Science’s part in this survey is to expand the opportunities for people to get out in nature and to experience the night sky.

“[To] get a sense of our place in the universe and the wonderful things that are out there to observe,” said Baker.

The project was funded by NC Space Grants and NC Sea Grants.

The official report will be released next month by A Time for Science and NC Land of Water. 9 On Your Side will have more details about the report then,

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