Helper, Utah certified as International Dark Sky Community

Helper, Utah certified as International Dark Sky Community

  • April 1, 2020
  • News

Helper City and the International Dark-Sky Association are pleased to announce Helper as an International Dark Sky Community, a place recognized for its quality night skies and a commitment to protecting and sharing natural darkness. The local area Dark Sky Observers have led regular astronomy programs and special events in the area over the last two years.  International dark sky community certification gives Helper support to grow dark skies programs and creates economic opportunities for neighboring communities through astronomy-based tourism.…

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Group to keep eye on the sky

Group to keep eye on the sky

A week after the county adopted a resolution to protect the night skies, a local group is forming with the intent of educating residents about how they can help protect one of the Hill Country’s greatest assets — a starlit night sky. Cliff Kaplan, program manager with the Hill Country Alliance, said 14 counties have adopted resolutions similar to that of Kendall County. However, because of state legislation, it’s often difficult for cities and counties to regulate lighting. Instead it’s…

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County resolution supports efforts to preserve darkness

County resolution supports efforts to preserve darkness

The stars at night are big and bright — and disappearing from view deep in the heart of Texas. That was the consensus of a standing-room-only audience this week as the Kendall County Commissioners Court heard comments from concerned citizens in support of a resolution supporting efforts to preserve the night skies. Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Durden introduced the resolution, and the court voted in favor of its adoption. “Sometimes we don’t miss things until they’re gone, and then they’re…

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Blanco County’s night skies celebrated in song

Blanco County’s night skies celebrated in song

Some of the Hill Country’s most talented songwriters and performers gathered on Thursday, March 12 in the Back 40 of the Old 300 BBQ on Blanco’s Town Square to celebrate the night sky in song.  The cause for celebration was the CD Release Party for “Deep in the Dark of Texas™ Vol 1,“ an effort sponsored by the Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky (BCFNS) to support night sky preservation in the Hill Country. Last fall, the organization challenged…

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Fredericksburg earns ‘dark sky’ designation

Fredericksburg earns ‘dark sky’ designation

After review by the International Dark-Sky Association Board, the City of Fredericksburg’s application to become an International Dark Sky Community was unanimously endorsed. “The IDA works to protect the night skies for present and future generations by requiring applicants to follow a rigorous application process to demonstrate robust community support for dark sky protection and document designation-specific program for requirements,” said Fredericksburg City Manager Kent Myers. An IDA International Dark Sky Community is a town, city, municipality or other legally…

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Where light pollution is seeping into the rural night sky

Where light pollution is seeping into the rural night sky

Artificial light that floods the night sky is thought to be only an urban phenomenon. But when you adjust for population, the picture is dramatically different. The rule of thumb is that if you want to see the Milky Way, you have to venture out to the countryside. That’s where the illumination from streetlights and brightly lit offices that floods cities hasn’t obscured the night sky. But a recent map tracking the artificial lighting seen at night through satellite imagery…

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Today, 30th anniversary of the Pale Blue Dot

Today, 30th anniversary of the Pale Blue Dot

  • February 14, 2020
  • News

February 14, 1990. Today is the 30th anniversary of an iconic image of Earth, seen from Saturn, taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft. It turned out to be one of the most memorable images ever taken from space. The image came to be known as the Pale Blue Dot, and to be associated with the words of astronomer Carl Sagan who wrote in his 1994 book “Pale Blue Dot”: Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.…

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Preserving the night sky in Austin

Most evenings in Central Texas, the sky transforms into the legendary violet crown before falling into darkness. Although humans wait for the beauty of the sunset, it is the darkness that animals need, according to Cliff Kaplan of the Hill Country Alliance. “All of the creatures of Central Texas rely on dark nights. That’s what they evolved for,” he told the Environmental Commission at its Feb. 5 meeting. Golden-cheeked warblers navigate by starlight and fireflies communicate in darkness. Darker skies…

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Fireflies have a mating problem: The lights are always on

Fireflies have a mating problem: The lights are always on

These are tough times for fireflies. Like a lot of other insects, they face increasing threats from habitat loss, pesticides and pollution. But they also have a problem that’s unique to luminous bugs: It’s getting harder for them to reproduce because light pollution is outshining their mating signals. Fireflies, it turns out, use their special glowing powers in courtship: Males light up to signal availability and females respond with patterned flashes to show that they’re in the mood. But bright…

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IDA Advocate helps teens open eyes to light pollution in Chicago

IDA Advocate helps teens open eyes to light pollution in Chicago

Each month the International Dark-Sky Association features an IDA Advocate from the worldwide network of volunteers who are working to protect the night. This month we’re highlighting the work of IDA Delegate, Rosalía Lugo.  Self-described as “a true believer in the potential of working-class youth of color,” IDA Delegate Rosalía Lugo works as the teen programs manager at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. With a master’s in education policy, organization, and leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,…

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