Hugh Pickens writes "Stargazing skies all over the world are disappearing, as the sky above New York City is Class 9 on the Bortle ranking and American suburban skies are typically Class 5, 6, or 7. But some places are making an effort to preserve their skywatching heritage as Exmoor National Park was granted International Dark-Sky Reserve status in November and people in the Exmoor town of Dulverton were challenged to switch off their lights as part of the BBC's Stargazing Live, demonstrating that you don't need special equipment to see the stars more clearly, if you have a decent pair of binoculars. 'The whole idea is to show that even a small town, which is still quite dark, can give off quite a lot of light,' says astronomer Mark Thompson. The event in Dulverton gained a lot of support from local residents and businesses. 'It needed a bit of organization to get everyone to say yes,' says town mayor Chris Nelder. 'We want people to just enjoy the night sky, to treasure the fact we have them and to look after them,' adds Claire O'Connor from Exmoor National Park Authority."
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