April is Global Astronomy Month! Astronomers around the globe are organizing events for the world’s largest celebration of astronomy in all its forms. Check out these 10 ways to get involved, and a full program schedule–star parties, solar observing, remote observing sessions, cosmic concerts, programs for planetariums and people with disabilities, competitions, art events and more.
The International Dark-Sky Association will be celebrating from April 14-20 with International Dark Sky Week–a time to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to help raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.
If you’d like to watch or screen THE CITY DARK to raise a little dark-sky awareness this month, just visit our Screenings Page!
In Utah last month, eighth-grader Erin Rush turned passion into action to promote Ojai’s City Light Ordinance. After moving to Ojai from metropolitan Park City, Erin considered her new hometown lucky to have such a wonderful public resource: a dark night sky. Then, as Erin recalled in an email to the Wicked Delicate team, she realized, “The night sky isn’t any more beautiful in Ojai than in Park City, it’s just easier to see!”
To keep the stars bright in Ojai, Erin brought together community partners including the Ojai Valley Green Coalition and the local chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association, and organized the Dark Skies & Starry Nights event, held October 22. Dark Skies & Starry Nights featured a screening of THE CITY DARK followed by a star-gazing party and discussion with experts from the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit.
Over 150 people came to Dark Skies & Starry Nights. Erin tells Wicked Delicate: “Everybody loved the movie…and the discussion kept going during the star gazing. The night was completely clear, it could not have been better!” Erin’s event even inspired change beyond City Council; her school Headmaster plans to work with school facility managers to create a light reduction plan for the campus.
Read more about Erin’s efforts in the Ojai Valley Green Coalition’s October E-News.
Erin Rush, center, with participants in Dark Skies & Starry Nights (photo courtesy of Erin Rush)
Way to go!
Want to share a success story from your dark-sky event? We’d love to hear it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story, or to find out how to bring THE CITY DARK to your community.
It’s fall—the days are getting shorter, streetlights are turning on earlier, and birds are heading south! It’s a perfect time to think about the impact of light pollution on bird migration. In THE CITY DARK, Ian heads to Chicago to follow a team that collects, catalogs, and rehabilitates birds that are killed or injured by brightly-lit skyscraper windows.
Last month, the New York Times published an article about the hazards that city skyscrapers pose to bird migration. “New York is a major stopover for migratory birds on the Atlantic flyaway, and an estimated 90,000 birds are killed flying into buildings in New York City each year,” says a representative from New York City Audubon quoted in the article.
Recognizing the hazards posed by light pollution in a city built of glass, the US Green Building Council is set to introduce a bird-safety credit this fall as part of its LEED environmental certification standards. The credit will create awareness about the impact of indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures on bird migratory patterns, and will help reduce the glare and glazing that cause birds to fly into buildings. It will also encourage the use of bird-friendly glass and protective landscaping materials.
This Sunday, August 7, THE CITY DARK screens at the University of Michigan Biological Station at 7:30pm, followed by a Q&A with Ian. Event co-sponsor Emmet County, Michigan, recently earned an International Dark Sky Park designation for its Headlands property. Congratulations!
Visit the International Dark-Sky Association to learn more about this designation.
The National Park Service tells us the night sky at Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park is so dark, you can see 7,500 stars on a moonless night. We believe it!
At this year’s 11th Annual Bryce Canyon Astronomy Festival, June 29-July 2, THE CITY DARK was screened as the keynote presentation, and Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh even made Ian an honorary Dark Ranger.
Bryce Superintendent presents Ian with an honorary Dark Ranger jacket.
The jacket came in handy on a few chilly nights of incredible stargazing, a true highlight of the Bryce experience. With some of the darkest, stillest skies in recent memory coinciding with the festival, Interpretive Ranger Kevin Poe and other Bryce Canyon Dark Rangers gave laser-guided constellation tours, and dozens of amateur astronomers from around the country set up their telescopes for public stargazing each night. Saturn was out in full force! Find out how the National Park Service is working to preserve the air quality and darkness that make for nights like this one:
Bryce Canyon National Park. Photo by Ian Cheney.
A true honor... awarded by Kevin Poe, National Park Service.
Thanks to Kevin and the National Park Service, the Salt Lake Astronomical Society, and all the other awesome festival hosts and attendees. See you next year!
Robert Wagner, Ian Cheney, and Bob Parks at the IDA awards ceremony. Photo from the IDA.
Light what you need, when you need it. That’s the key tenet of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).
At its annual conference in April, the IDA screened THE CITY DARK and presented Ian with a Dark Sky Defender Communication Award.
To find out more about current efforts to keep our night skies dark, and to learn how you can help in your own neighborhood, check out the IDA website.