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.
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.
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.
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
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.
To participate in this project and submit your data click here.
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
The Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky (BCFNS) last week concluded its 2021 Night Sky Art Contest for students at the high schools and middle schools in both Blanco…
On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted to approve an effort to get Travis County residents and businesses to turn off some of their lights to help save birds’ lives.…
Lost in the forest until nightfall, a young child faces his fears and learns how nature flourishes in darkness in the latest book from Shearer Publishing, based in Fredericksburg. The…
Bill Wren remembers the night sky rising like wallpaper above him when he was a child in rural Missouri. But after a move to Houston in 1970 when he was…
Hill Country View Radio