NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Dark Sky

Warrumbungle National Park is Australia's first Dark Sky Park and the first in the southern hemisphere. Sitting on the outskirts of the park is Siding Springs Observatory, Australia’s most important visible-light telescope. The Observatory has over 40 telescopes and is one of few in the world that can observe the whole southern-hemisphere sky. It is critical to our understanding of the universe and the scientific endeavours of Australian and international astronomers.

The Department of Planning and Environment has teamed up with the Observatory and local councils to develop of planning controls and a Dark Sky Planning Guideline to help protect the night sky from light pollution. We’ve also increased public awareness about the importance of minimising light pollution in the Dark Sky Park, including developing educational materials with the Dubbo School of Distance Education.

What is light pollution?

Light pollution is the brightening of the night sky from artificial light.

Artificial light can be lights from our homes, businesses, schools and sports grounds, street lights and different types of illuminated signs.

Too much light pollution can:

  • disrupt the breeding and migration patterns of nocturnal animals
  • negatively impact people’s health, including sleep patterns
  • restrict the ability of observatories to see and research the night sky.

How can I help protect the night sky?

  • read the Dark Sky Planning Guideline (PDF, 5.3 MB) for practical advice on how to minimise light pollution in your home
  • talk to your teachers about introducing the Dark Sky Education Unit in your school
  • watch our video series to hear leading experts talk about the impacts of light pollution on the environment and human health.
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We created the Dark Sky Planning Guideline to help protect one of the world's most important observatories from light pollution.

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We created a fun education unit so teachers, students and kids can all help protect the night sky.

Dark sky video series flip tile 430x278

Hear from leading experts on how light pollution is affecting the environment and our health.