Of Ealing Declared International Dark-Sky Reserve
are over the moon at the announcement that the
London Borough of Ealing has been declared an
International Dark-Sky Reserve by the
International Dark-Sky Association (IDA): http://www.darksky.org/.
London is an
international centre of excellence for numerous
endeavours, explained Mayor of London,
Boris Johnson. It was total madness that
Londoners had to travel to the mountains of Chile
or to Exmoor, wherever they are, to get
a decent view of the night sky.
UK astronomer Steve Owens,
chair of the IDA's Dark Sky Places
Development Committee, highlighted the
problems that Ealing had overcome to gain the
prestigious award. To be declared an
International Dark-Sky Reserve, he
explained, an area must possess an
exceptional or distinguished quality of starry
nights. Light pollution from conurbations is the
most significant barrier to this aspiration, and
areas in London possess quite exceptional
challenges in that respect.
As part of the bid for
Reserve status for Ealing, street lights were
disabled within a ten mile radius: from Elstree
in the north to Surbiton in the south, and from
Uxbridge in the west to Islington in the east. In
addition, local byelaws were passed to enforce
the use of blackout curtains after dark within
the Reserve area. Car headlights and other
sources of light, necessary to facilitate travel,
were required to be red in order to not affect
night vision. ARP (Astronomy Reserve Protection)
wardens now tour the streets at night to ensure
Since the changes, I
have been almost constantly working outside at
night, said emergency paramedic and
ambulance crewperson, Ursula Major. I often
point out the constellations to distract RTA and
other casualties from their injuries.
admitted Leo Regulus, an unemployed young person
from Boston Manor, I stop when lootin
from Ealin Broadway ta wunda at the splenda
of the Miwkey Way. Last week, he continued,
I even went back ta Argos ta nick a
Newtonian reflecta telescope, init.
create significant light pollution, noted
captain Hercules Kornephoros of the London Fire
Brigade, so we are gratified that so few of
the marauding gangs commit arson. We can
certainly extinguish most of their fires very
Astronomers from across the
UK have visited Ealing to avail themselves of its
crystal clear view of the heavens. Many
initially complained about mugging and the loss
of equipment, admitted sergeant Izar Bootes
from the Metropolitan Police, but the
ability to repurchase their kit, or better gear,
at Leeland Road market on Saturday mornings has
more than compensated for such inconveniences.
The project has also
made London top of the international league for
CO2 reduction, noted UK Energy Secretary,
Chris Huhne. Central to this
governments vision to counteract climate
change is a total lack of illumination.
The UK government has
already announced that the UK City of Culture
Award will be joined by the UK City of
Dimness, and that light reduction awareness
will be part of the core curriculum in schools.
Dimness will remain at the very heart of
the UK education system, proudly boasted
Education Secretary, Michael Gove, as it
has been for many years.
The quality of the sky over
Ealing means that key astronomical features are
clearly visible for the first time in over two
centuries. The police have been inundated by
calls from anxious residents, worried about the
appearance of strange white dots in the night sky.
It looks like that
Brian Cox bloke was telling the truth, after all,
said one amazed Northfields resident.
The demolition of most
properties in Hanwell in order to build a state
of the art observatory has met with little
resistance. I live in the last remaining
house in St Margarets Road, said one
resident. Not only have I got rid of all
the infuriating neighbours, she said, with
relief, but Brian Cox has agreed to feed
the cat when Im away.
This initiative, and
others like it, have full government support,
concluded Prime Minister, David Cameron.
This government is determined to return the
United Kingdom to the Dark Ages.