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Light Pollution: Free the Milky Way Campaign

How to bring back the stars in the sky and take away the glare from our eyes.

Free the Milky Way Campaign

The Free The Milky Way Campaign used to be the 20/20 Vision Campaign, recently renamed by the Light Pollution Committee of the Baton Rouge Astronomical Society (BRAS). This campaign’s goal was to raise the SQM measurement at the Highland Road Park Observatory's (HRPO’s) back viewing pad to 20.0 by HRPO’s 20th anniversary. That date past, we decided to keep the effort going until the goal is reached, however long that takes.

Put another way, this campaign's mission is to bring back natural skies above the Highland Road Park Observatory.

What is an SQM Measurement?

SQM stands for Sky Quality Meter, and, as the name implies, it is an instrument that can read the amount of light at a particular place and time. SQMs quantify light in magnitudes per square arcseconds (or mag/arc-sec²).

Typically, higher SQM readings equals less light pollution in a given area.

Unihedron, the company that manufactures SQMs, gives more detail on this device here.

Also, if you want to brush up on your understanding of arc-based calculations, Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona has a webpage that can help you do just that.