Mount Royal National Park comprises a large area of subtropical forest in the Australian state of New South Wales. Mount Royal is always open like many other Australian parks, but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger; camping is allowed but requires booking. Although not far away from Newcastle (58 miles or 93 km), the sparse population of its surroundings makes for pristine skies averaging around class 2 in the Bortle dark-sky scale. This was confirmed by a friend of EarthSky who shared the following: “It is an isolated area in the Barrington Tops region of eastern Australia. It is part of the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests of Australia… its isolated position is great for stargazing, as you can see even the dimmest of stars.”
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.