Dark Skies volunteers audit the sky light quality and nightscape at key locations in and around Callander. They gather information about light quality using Sky Light Quality Meters and record other information about the view of the sky and any nearby sources of light. The aim of the sky audit is to identify areas that are accessible and good for observing the night sky in Callander. Read more about our Dark Skies project.
What does it take to become a Dark Skies volunteer?
Enthusiasm and commitment are more important than specific skills and experience. Good local knowledge of the area and basic stargazing experience is recommended. Volunteers must be comfortable working outdoors in the dark and be able to manage their own safety.
Benefits of volunteering with us
Dark Skies volunteers can explore different areas in and around Callander and have the opportunity to learn more about dark skies, astronomy and develop new skills.
Volunteers are provided with a map and a list which shows the various locations for surveying. You are able to choose which areas you survey, some will be walking distance from the town others may require travelling to. Travel expenses can be reimbursed for public transport and mileage up to a maximum of £10 per day.
The best time of year to undertake light monitoring is during the winter months. Volunteers carried out surveys between January – February 2019 and this will continue again between October – December 2019. There are no set times or dates for this role, you select the dates to suit. There are sky and weather considerations; ideally surveys should take place on a dark evening, with no moon and with no or few clouds.
A training session took place early in January 2019 for volunteers to learn how to carry out surveys, use the equipment and record the information. There will be another training evening for new volunteers on Monday 4th November 2019, from 7-9pm at Callander Hostel. There will also be opportunities to attend evening classes run by the Stirling Astronomical Society over the winter months.
After receiving training, volunteers will be expected to commit to undertaking a minimum of four site surveys.
Who will offer supervision?
This is an independent volunteer activity and as such there won’t be a leader when you undertake your survey. Support is provided by the Volunteering and Activities Officer. In addition, volunteers are required to follow the risk assessment and the National Park Authority’s Lone and Remote Working Procedure.
Find out more about our Dark Skies project. If you are interested in becoming a Dark Skies volunteer contact Julie on 01389 727 723 or firstname.lastname@example.org