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Sky Quality Monitoring

Measuring the brightness of the night sky, and how that is changing over time.

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In order to achieve and maintain International Dark Sky Community certification for the Town of Paonia, a Sky Quality Monitoring (SQM) program must be established to track changes in night sky brightness as time progresses.

 

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Time series of SQM data for Paonia. 2019 - 2024. Seasonal variation due mainly to presence of the glow from the band of the Milky Way.

Dark Skies Paonia manages four data collection sites in and around the Town's perimeter. Measurements began in 2019, and in 2023 Dark Skies Paonia was awarded a grant from the West Elk Community Fund to pay for the purchase and installation of two new continuous logging devices to be installed at the Paonia River Park and in the downtown area (Town Hall building).

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Paonia is located in a relatively remote and naturally dark location, nesteled at the base of serveral wilderness areas, national forests and BLM managed lands. Skyglow from the town of Paonia itself and nearby towns, cities, as well as industrial zones are the source of most artificial light in the region. The light pollution map below shows where the artificial light is located.

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