National Dark Sky Week
April 20th to the 26th marks National Dark Sky week. Started in 2003, its goal is to raise awareness of good outdoor lighting to help preserver our natural dark skies (yes, dark is the natural state of night although it can be hard to believe at times). Dark Sky Week is endorsed by the International Dark-Sky Association, the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical League, and Sky & Telescope.
To see the full extent of the problem, let’s take a look at satellite measurements of artificial lighting from the World Atlas of Artificial Lighting.
As you can see, everything in the east of the US through the midwest is pretty socked in. The west still has a few dark areas but they are rapidly being threatened as well. Cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix have lights that can be seen from hundreds of miles away.
The International Dark Sky Association has all kinds of great info on the effects of bad lighting on wildlife and human health. Fortunately, good outdoor lighting can help a lot and even save money in the long run.
For a little humor for Dark Skies Week, you can watch the Simpsons episode, Excuse Me While I Miss the Sky where Lisa leads the crusade against light pollution.
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