Austria launches star walk in Grossmugl

The Austrian town of Grossmugl has built what is thought to be the world's first permanent star walk installation, open 24 hours a day.

Austria launches star walk in Grossmugl
Photo: Mrazek Matys

Most European cities of any size lack the opportunity to see stars as our ancestors once did, due to light pollution from street lights, houses and vehicles.  

The small town of Grossmugl in Lower Austria is situated within easy driving distance of Vienna, yet the skies are sufficiently dark to allow observation down to a magnitude of 6.

In layman's terms, this means that visitors can observe with the naked eye a host of stars that they normally would never see in a city, only 30 minutes drive out of town.

Furthermore, the faint light of the milky way will allow viewing of the galaxy in which our star may be found.

The star walk is a 1.5 km marked trail that leads visitors along a discovery pathway, with places for easy viewing of the night sky.  

It was designed in conjunction with Project Nightflight, a non-profit group which is registered as the Association for the Presentation and Conservation of the Starry Sky, and which consists of astrophotographers from around the world who value the preservation of star-gazing without light pollution.

The walk is designed for novice star gazers, offering an introduction that requires no prior knowledge of astronomy. It is similar to several other European locations which encourage the availability of Dark Sky Parks.

Although the star walk is open 24 hours a day, organizers confirm that stars will only be visible at night, and then only in conjunction with good weather.  

Photo: Project Nightlight

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