Guardians of the Dark: The Creation of the Gin Gin Dark Sky Reserve
Presented by Richard Tonella
Since the invention of the lightbulb, light pollution has been an increasing problem for Astronomers and Optical Telescopes across the globe. In modern times, the night skies are being slowly lost of Light Pollution produced by Artificial Light at Night (A.L.a.N.). This is an unprecedented disaster unfolding right above our heads. The improper and overuse of outdoor lighting produces unwanted Light Pollution, in its various forms, which inhibit ground based optical telescopes from stuyding the universe, but also affects local wildlife/birdlife, insects and marine animals – an integral part of our delicate Ecosystem.
The Gravity Discovery Centre & Observatory, along with the State Government of Western Australia, are working towards protecting on of our state’s most valuable assets by creating a Dark Sky Reserve surrounding the Gravity Precinct near Gingin. When accredited by the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA), the Gingin Dark Sky Reserve will serve as a model for other potential dark sky location sacross our state to be protected.
Richard Tonello is the Chief Astronomer at Gravity Discovery Centre Observatory near Gingin. He was owner and operator of Astronomy Education Services (AES), an incursion based education and astro tourism provider in the science of Astronomy, visiting suburban and regional schools and communities across W.A with the motto – “Bringing the Universe to You…” After eleven years of operation, AES has merged with the Gravity Discovery Centre to provide second to non astronomy education and astro tourism events to the people of Western Australia.
Rick also has over 20 years experience providing Astronomy Education and Outreach along with engaging in astronomical research. He maintains international collaborations with various astronomers and institutions including NASA/JPL and the Unites States Airforce Academy (USAFA).
His current major project is protecting the dark skies surrounding the Gravity Discovery Centre Observatory with the aim of creating the Gingin Dark Sky Reserve and gaining accreditation/recognition from the International Dark Sky Association.