Perseid meteor shower will peak in night skies

Perseid meteor shower will peak in night skies

  • August 12, 2019
  • News

All year long as Earth revolves around the sun, it passes through streams of cosmic debris. The resulting meteor showers can light up night skies from dusk to dawn, and if you’re lucky you might be able to catch a glimpse. The next shower you might be able to see is the Perseids. Active between July 17 and Aug. 26, the show peaks around Monday night into Tuesday morning, or Aug. 12-13. The Perseids light up the night sky when…

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Apache donates $257,000 to McDonald Observatory

Apache donates $257,000 to McDonald Observatory

  • July 25, 2019
  • News

Apache Corp. gifted $257,000 to the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory to help with the prevention of light pollution in dark West Texas skies – which are often used for research. The funds will hire additional staff to create resources for the dark skies programs that allow the observatory to collaborate with city councils, county governments and businesses to promote good lighting solutions, according to a release from the observatory. It also will assist with the funding of educational materials…

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Rep. Zwiener’s HB 4158, ‘Hill Country Night Sky Tourism Bill,’ becomes law

Rep. Zwiener’s HB 4158, ‘Hill Country Night Sky Tourism Bill,’ becomes law

Dark Sky cities in the Texas Hill Country can now use their hotel occupancy tax dollars to protect the night sky. Representative Erin Zwiener’s (D-Driftwood) HB 4158 is now law and effective immediately.  HB 4158, the Hill Country Night Sky Tourism bill, gives small cities in Hays and Blanco Counties another important tool to invest in local tourism efforts. This legislation recognizes the importance of dark skies to visitors and residents of the Hill Country and allows communities to use…

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Why we are losing the night sky

Why we are losing the night sky

It never gets dark anymore. Not REALLY dark, anyway. Not like it used to. Light pollution is not only making it more difficult to see the night sky, but it’s also affecting our health. For the past century and a half, since the dawn of electric light, we’ve been losing our connection to the night. We need artificial light for modern society, of course. The problem is, we need darkness for our health, and for the health of wildlife and…

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HEADS UP PEC CUSTOMERS! Time to Vote!

HEADS UP PEC CUSTOMERS! Time to Vote!

The Pedernales Electric Co-op is having its annual election. Attend the Annual Meeting this Saturday, June 22 at Horseshoe Bay Resort to cast your ballot in person (online and mail-in voting has ended). Remember- the PEC Board sets important policy and shapes the Hill Country, particularly when it comes to night skies and outdoor lighting. As always, voting is the only way to make sure your voice is heard! Access voting methods and instructions here 

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Plan to dim Field of Dreams light pollution

Plan to dim Field of Dreams light pollution

Following years of complaints from residents living near the Lake Travis Youth Association’s “Field of Dreams” about bright lights shining into their homes, the association has come up with a 10-year, $1.2 million plan that will address neighbors’ concerns while still allowing young athletes to use the fields in the evening. The sports complex at 13909 W. Texas 71 includes several baseball, softball and soccer fields on about 19.5 acres of land in Bee Cave. A combination of permanent and…

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Reduce electricity waste with proper outdoor lighting

Reduce electricity waste with proper outdoor lighting

We all know the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas. But keeping the night skies dark so we can continue to enjoy the stars requires some extra effort and mindfulness. Outdoor lighting has important applications, such as keeping our outdoor spaces safe and usable at night. But it can easily result in wasted energy that creates sky glow, dimming the starry night sky for everyone. This light, and the electricity used to create…

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The flight of the Texas fireflies

The flight of the Texas fireflies

In a state with more than its share of biting, stinging, and creeping and crawling insects and arachnids with little or no charm to any but their own species, fireflies (or lightning bugs as they are variously known here) have long enjoyed a special place in our hearts, that rarest of varmints—a charismatic insect. To those of us who grew up in suburbia or out in the country in recent decades (or those who grew up in big cities long…

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Wren: Dark skies vital to gaining perspective

Wren: Dark skies vital to gaining perspective

Friday evening’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Expo keynote speaker was William Wren, a distinguished and award-winning advocate for dark sky preservation. Wren has worked at the McDonald Observatory for 29 years and currently is the special assistant to the superintendent. The McDonald Observatory is part of the University of Texas system, located on Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains, 313 miles West of Uvalde. The 500-acre site sits beneath some of the darkest skies in…

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Inks Lake Park intern battles light pollution

Inks Lake Park intern battles light pollution

  • April 23, 2019
  • News

There was once a time in which every star in the sky could be seen at night. Our ancestors experienced an absolute absence of light once the sun set, and the twinkling black sky above was untouched; one could watch the stars twinkle from anywhere in the world. Today, much of the night sky is tainted by light pollution, and billions of people rarely have the chance to behold a sight as breathtaking as the Milky Way on a dark,…

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