A thing I wish I could have had years ago…

One thing astronomy largely depends on is a dark sky. Light pollution is a real drag if you’re trying to photograph faint fuzzy things, which I happen to enjoy quite a lot. There have been ways to quantify the lack of light in the sky for years but I’ve not been able to put that all together until recently. A highly sensitive light sensor that is able to withstand full Texas sun is not a particularly easy thing to make on your home workbench if you want to be able to make actual, quantifiable measurements.

Recently I’ve added a Unihedron SQM-LE to my home base setup. I can now tell you *exactly* how crappy my inter-urban night sky is. Conversely I’m working on a project to measure how incredibly dark it is at Ft. Griffin State Historic Site. That effort will hopefully end with getting it listed as an official International Dark Sky site. The end goal is to give back to an organization that has given the amateur astronomical community quite a lot. In getting them listed I hope to give them the tools to educate others about light pollution and try to get the ball moving back toward protecting the night sky rather than corrupting it.

My Sky Quality Meter