Photo: Amy Jackson

Hill Country Projects and Mapping

While it is hard to quantify the true value a clear view of the night sky brings, we try our best! By collecting data and measuring the darkness of the sky we can develop a baseline definition of current sky quality. This allows us to better understand just what could be lost as the Hill Country rapidly develops. When studies such as the ones shown below are used to inform development and local policy we can ensure that community growth does not have to mean an increase in light pollution.

Credit: Putman Mountain Observatory

Hill Country Sky Quality Monitoring Network

The Putman Mountain Observatory has established a network of sky quality meters in various Hill Country locations and is currently working with the Hill Country Alliance to further expand the network throughout the region.

Click here to explore current SQM locations in the Hill Country and learn more about how a Sky Quality Meter (SQM) collects sky brightness data.

Credit: Hill Country Alliance

Hill Country Night Skies Mapping

1992 – 2010 Map Set

The Hill Country Night Skies map set is a set of 6 maps showing the night time light intensity of the Hill Country in 1992, 1995, 2000, and 2010. The final map shows the change in intensity from 1992 to 2010. The data was collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Click here to view or download the Hill Country Night Skies 1992 – 2010 map set.

Credit: Amy Jackson

Dark Sky Quality Analysis

Being able to both understand and explain the quality of our region’s night skies is critical to effective communication with both policy makers and the general public. In an effort to better inform Hill Country residents of our region’s sky quality, the Central Texas Dark Sky Quality Analysis was created in 2019 by Amy Jackson. This project was completed as part of an Austin Community College GIS program Capstone Project, in collaboration with the Hill Country Alliance.

Click here to view or download the 2019 Central Texas Dark Sky Quality poster with map and data table. To explore the same analysis for the entire State of Texas, click here.

Additional Resources Beyond the Hill Country

Credit: Globe at Night

Globe at Night Interactive Map

Globe at Night is an international citizen science campaign that has been collecting data about the night sky since 2006, in order to raise public awareness about the global spread of light pollution. Over the years, data has been collected from more than 200,000 observations across 180 countries.

Click here to explore data and maps from Globe at Night. 

To participate in this project and submit your data click here.

Credit: The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness

World Map of Artificial Sky Brightness

This easily navigable, interactive light pollution map displays overlays of night time lights on our planet. It shows night time lights as well as the World Map of Artificial Sky Brightness map layer. This map was created by an international team of scientists using high resolution satellite data – click here to learn more. 

Recent Night Sky News