Wiruna Light Use Policy

Wiruna is the ASNSW's premier dark sky site and, as such, it provides an excellent opportunity to observe away from the degrading effects of light pollution. Wiruna has two observing fields to cater for the different needs of members, visitors and SPSP attendees: the large Main Observing Field located to the east of the meeting hall, and a smaller area, called Imaging Alley, located on the eastern boundary of the Main Observing Field.

  • The Main Observing Field has a strict 'dim, red-light only' policy and is primarily intended for visual observers.
  • Imaging Alley and the Barry Gerdes Lodge Astroimaging Field have a less strict light use policy and are primarily intended for those wanting to do astroimaging and who need to use laptop computers without red screen filters.

The detailed light use policy for the Wiruna Main Observing Field and the South Pacific Star Party is set out below. Attendees agree to abide by this policy when they register for the SPSP. The policy applies all year for all members and visitors to Wiruna.

General Light Use

  • All light sources after sunset should be dim, red light only. No white lights are to be used after dark unless there is an announcement to the contrary (such as in the case of inclement weather). Light sources should be aimed at the ground when walking around or packing up. White light (and bright red light) significantly reduces dark-adaption and night vision, which can take up to an hour to fully develop.
  • Caravan windows and doors must be fully blacked out at night with curtains, blinds, black plastic sheeting or aluminium foil.
  • Please ensure torches and internal car or caravan lights are shielded with red filters. Please always aim your red torch to the ground when walking.

Laser Pointers

  • Use of laser pointers by Members or Visitors is not allowed.
  • The use of a laser collimator is permitted only for the purpose of collimating a telescope.
  • Twilight sky tours at the Star Party may be conducted, using a green laser pointer, by a person who has been authorised to do so by the Management Committee and Star Party organisers. Any such tour will finish at or before the time designated on the SPSP Program.

Head Torches 

  • It is not permitted to use a head-mounted torch while walking around the observing field. They may be used around your own telescope or campsite (e.g. when packing up) but care should be taken to ensure the torch is always pointed downward. At all other times, head torches may only be used while hand-held.

Laptop Computers

  • Laptop computers used on the Main Observing Field must be fitted with a heavy red screen filter and a light shield. Please note that materials such as cellophane are insufficient to filter most laptop screens to the level where night vision is unaffected. Filters should be made from a deep red gel filter material. Sheets of suitable red gel are available at Wiruna (and the Star Party) at a cost of $5 each. 
  • Laptops used on Imaging Alley may be used without a red-screen filter but must be shielded. Even though Imaging Alley is well screened from the Main Observing Field, users of this field are requested to operate their laptops at the minimum possible screen brightness (use a neutral density filter if it is too bright) and to keep their laptops pointed away from Main Observing Field.
  • Putting an open cardboard box on its side and placing the laptop inside the box makes an effective light shield.

Vehicle Lights and Movements

Late Arrivals Thursday, Friday - NO headlights

  • If arriving at the South Pacific Star Party after dark on Thursday or Friday night, turn off your headlights at the front gate and drive carefully and slowly with parking lights only to the camping area (no travelling to the observing fields). Also ensure that interior lights are disabled or shielded before arriving. 

Late Arrivals Saturday - NO vehicular entry

  • Anyone arriving at Wiruna after sunset on Saturday night must leave their vehicle in the parking by near the front gate to avoid throwing obtrusive light.

Rules on the Observing Fields

  • Attendees wishing to leave a vehicle on, or adjacent to, the observing fields after sunset must demonstrate that the vehicle can be locked, unlocked, entered and exited without activating any bright or non-red lights such as interior lights or indicators. SPSP officers will be present on the Main Observing Field to check vehicles and issue Compliance Certificates.
  • Only vehicles displaying a Compliance Certificate will be allowed to remain on, or adjacent to, the Main Observing Field after sunset.
  • Vehicle movement on the observing fields after sunset is strictly forbidden except in the case of genuine emergencies.


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