Zselic Starry Sky Park

Next night time walk: 9 February 2013

The Hungarian dark sky park project was initiated at the 2nd Light Pollution Meeting in Hungary, October 27, 2006. At this occasion the director of the Duna-Dráva National Park Directorate and the president of the Hungarian Astronomical Association signed an agreement on the formation of a Starry Sky Park at the Zselic Landscape Protection Area. According to the agreement, the Duna-Drava National Park Directorate includes the conservation of the night sky in its management plan and the Hungarian Astronomical Association performs a night sky monitoring at the Zselic Landscape Protection Area and in its neighbourhood. A study trail is planned in the region, which gives information on astronomy, light pollution and the nocturnal habitat of local species. The National Park Directorate and the Hungarian Astronomical Association have also agreed to contact the neighbouring municipalities to involve them in the project.
After the signing of the agreement the Hungarian Astronomical Association and the Duna-Drava National Park Directorate have negotiated with the mayors of the neighbouring villages. They have received positive reaction form all the 17 municipalities. In a second agreement, broadened with the Lighting Society of Hungary and the Zselica Alliance - an association of the villages at the Zselic region - the project was extended to the settlements of the region. With the help of the Lighting Society, these villages will include a night sky friendly lighting code in their regulatory plans. Recently the neighbouring villages have negligible light pollution effects on the protected area, and with this agreement it is guaranteed that this state will be conserved, or even improved in the future.
The only way to protect the quality of the sky at the Zselic Landscape Protection Area is to avoid unnecessary upward light emission, especially one just above the horizontal direction. Inside the park there are no settlements, only a few buildings related to the local forestry. The only significant premises inside the park are the recreational buildings and hotel of the forestry (Hotel Kardosfa). The renovation and extension of this building was completed during 2007. The outdoor lighting of this institution (parking lots, footpath, etc.) was designed and was built according to the recommendations by the Lighting Society of Hungary. Only fully shielded (full cut off) lighting fixtures are used. The light pollution has been minimised in the vicinity of the premises. A subjective quality of the lighting is that this institute cannot be visible by its light in the forest, until one reaches the close vicinity of the buildings on the forestry road.