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Satellite Images Show Success of Flagstaff's Dark Skies Initiatives

Dan and Cindy Duriscoe, FDSC, Lowell Obs., USNO

The National Park Service says Flagstaff is seeing the benefit of the city's decades-long commitment to dark-sky friendly practices in the form of satellite images showing far less light pollution than a comparable-sized city.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports, the images show Flagstaff's nighttime light emissions are nearly 14 times fainter than those of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The observations of the Arizona city's light pollution were taken in July using a panoramic camera developed by the park service.

Christian Luginbuhl helped collect data for the analysis. He used the brightness measurements to also determine the geographical area affected by Flagstaff's light pollution and found it to be eight times smaller than Cheyenne's light pollution footprint.

Luginbuhl says Flagstaff embraced dark-sky friendly initiatives nearly 60 years ago and the new images show the city has done better than expected.

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