St. George Island State Park goes to the dark side – not to this dark side.  A recent article in the Panama City News Herald reports that St. George Island State Park has applied for the "Gold Tier Certification" from the International Dark Sky Association. This means, among other things:
"Night environments that neglect minor effects of light pollution and other artificial light disturbances, but still have an excellent night sky and excellent nighttime lighting landscape."
Park Ranger Skip Schipper hopes to get certified the Park Gold Animal Dark Sky. "It's extremely dark at night," Schipper said last night after testing a piece of light meter. "We are very lucky."
This recognition would boost ecotourism and is a victory against light pollution. St. George Island has a large population of nesting sea turtles.
What a great resource, just an hour's drive from Tallahassee. If you've never seen the Milky Way, take a drive to St. George Island and watch
Morning Sky: Mars rises to the east around midnight in early June and around 10:30. Come July. Mars and Earth are approaching so that the apparent size of Mars increases during the month. Mars reaches its next position to Earth in July.
Evening Sky: Jupiter rises in the southeast before the sun goes down and is visible all night. Three of its four Galilean moons can be seen with medium-sized binoculars, and you should be able to see the Great Red Spot through a small telescope. Saturn reaches the opposition on June 27, which means it will rise as the sun goes down. His rings are tilted almost to the maximum, so it's a good time to see Saturn. Venus continues to dominate the west at sunset, reaching its highest point in the sky on June 6th. It starts about 2 hours after sunset. Mercury will be barely visible towards the end of the month in West-Northwest.
Friday : Moon top left of Saturn at the morning sky  Saturday: Tallahassee Astronomical Society ($ 1 donation requested) Planetarium show at the Downtown Digital Dome Theater and Planetarium in Challenger Learning Center (not recommended for children under 5 years). The doors close at 10 o'clock, so at 9:45 o'clock, the seats are limited.
Sunday : Moon just above Mars in the morning sky
10th: Venus and the two brightest stars in Gemini form a line in west-northwest at sunset.
14. Thin crescent left of Mercury deep in the west-northwest at sunset.
15: Crescent Under Venus in the West-Northwest at Sunset
18. : The Tallahassee Astronomical Society's monthly meeting at the Challenger Learning Center begins at 18:30.
19th – 20th Asteroid Vesta at the Opposition. Visible to the unsupported eye, but you need a star map
21st: Summer begins in the northern hemisphere. The sun has reached its highest point in the sky.
22 .: Moon over the right Jupiter in the evening sky
23 .: Moon over the left Jupiter in the evening sky
27th: Moon near Saturn in the late evening sky in the morning sky
Take a look at the event calendar of TAS at www.stargazers.org.
Ken Kopczynski is President of the Tallahassee Astronomical Society, a local group of amateur astronomers.
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