April 7, 2013 - International Dark Sky Week (April 5-11)

This promotional flier states that two-thirds of all
people in the world and 99% of all people in the
United States NEVER get to see truly dark skies!

All week long, the International Dark-Sky Association wants us to notice, celebrate, and champion the nighttime sky!

This is a part of Global Astronomy Month, so all of April may have some special programs at your local observatory and planetarium!

Light pollution is a growing problem, the IDA points out. Of course, it hinders the work of visual astronomers and lessens the enjoyment of amateur astronomy buffs. But it also harms wildlife and wastes energy. It can cause problems for air travel and, in some cases, in human health. Some people argue that light pollution cuts modern city dwellers off from an important source of awe and wonder—the beautiful night sky that is our birthright.

Here are a few easy activities you can do to celebrate this week:

  • Check outdoor lighting to make sure you are only lighting up what you intend to illuminate. Most light fixtures should be angled downward or shielded so that their light doesn't go upward, and so that it doesn't “trespass” beyond your property.

  • Consider getting a motion detector for security lights. This can save you money as well as eliminate unnecessary light pollution.
  • Take a nighttime walk to discover problem lighting in your neighborhood. Really bright, glaring lights don't add to anybody's safety, because they shrink our pupils and make it harder to see things.

  • Go someplace far from city lights to do some star gazing.

  • Make a plan to use fewer lights most nights. It's fun to light up the backyard once in a while or to make your house a blaze of lights during a party, but most over-lighting is just lack of awareness.

Flagstaff has worked to reduce light
pollution, and it has become the
world's first International Dark Sky City!
For more ideas and resources—including handouts, a light audit, the Adopt-a-Street program, a video, and booklets—go to this Universe Today page

See how bright stars are in Flagstaff's nighttime sky nowadays.

For more on light pollution, check out this earlier post.

Also on this date:

Motherhood and Beauty Day in Armenia

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