Neighborhood in Travis County designated a “Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction”

Neighborhood in Travis County designated a “Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction”

  • August 16, 2017
  • News

River Hills Neighborhood Association (RHNA) has been formally designated a Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). River Hills is a small Travis County neighborhood in the foothills of the Hill Country. In this tranquil area, big dark skies and clear starry nights still exist and provide a spectacular view of one of Texas’ great natural legacies. IDA Executive Director J. Scott Feierabend notes: “The announcement of the River Hills Neighborhood as an IDA Dark Sky Friendly Development of Distinction…

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Safeguards for night skies contemplated in Bandera

Safeguards for night skies contemplated in Bandera

  • July 27, 2017
  • News

The beauty of the region’s nighttime skies was the featured attraction of a presentation sponsored by Bandera City Councilwoman Rebeca Gibson last week in preparation for the development of controls designed to keep light pollution from possibly taking that celestial treasure away. Gibson pulled together about 15 representatives of governing bodies and civic organizations to hear a presentation about the importance of preserving the night skies on Thursday, July 20, by the program manager for the Hill Country Alliance, Cliff…

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Hill Country Dark Skies

Hill Country Dark Skies

  • July 10, 2017
  • News

“You don’t have to tell me about it.” This was the start of a conversation with a prominent Fredericksburg resident. “My neighbor has two floodlights on his garage that light up my windows all night.” Another well-established Fredericksburg businessman said it this way: “If I wanted to light up my house all night I would have done it myself.” His house, where he raised his children and lives in his retirement years, is next to a convenience store on Main Street with…

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Night skies protection means economic benefits

Night skies protection means economic benefits

James Murr | The Junction Eagle | Public interest continues to grow in preserving the “awe-inspiring night skies” of the Texas Hill Country.  Local communities can derive significant economic benefits from visitors who come for stargazing, which is no longer possible in many areas because of light pollution that seriously interferes with or prevents the viewing of heavenly objects during the nighttime. In 2011 and 2012, the Kimble County Commissioners Court and the City Council of Junction passed resolutions that supported…

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UCISD students are big winners in poster contest

UCISD students are big winners in poster contest

What started as a mere Astronomy Day poster contest turned out to be a huge event for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District students, local stargazers and interested novices as people near and far got involved. The Uvalde County Historical Commission, Inc., Fort Inge Stargazers, and the Uvalde Rotary Club hosted the poster contest, which was open to sixth- through 12th-grade students. Poster themes were “Light Pollutions, Outdoor Lighting and Preserving the Night Sky” and “Spring Constellations and the Evening Sky.”…

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Fredericksburg applies for International Dark Sky Community designation

On May 15th, the Fredericksburg City Council passed a resolution affirming its support for the City’s application to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) for a Dark Sky Community designation. The resolution, proposed to Council by Kate Peake of the Hill Country Land Trust, recognizes the cultural, natural, and economic value of the night sky in Fredericksburg as well as the steps that the City has already taken to preserve the night skies and promote good lighting in the City. Application…

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Operators take action to darken skies around McDonald Observatory

Operators take action to darken skies around McDonald Observatory

  • April 17, 2017
  • News

Dark skies are surrounding the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory at Fort Davis. And that’s a good thing. The Permian Basin Petroleum Association, in collaboration with the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, recently issued its recommended lighting practices for oil and gas operations in the seven counties that surround the observatory. “We’re very excited,” Ben Shepperd, president of the PBPA, said in a phone interview as he was returning to Austin after hosting the association’s annual golf tournament. “We’ve been…

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The Stars at Night

The Stars at Night

  • March 31, 2017
  • News

A satellite map of light pollution in the United States shows the country split down the middle, with nearly everything to the east full of light and broad swaths of the west still dark. The Interstate 35 corridor forms the boundary between the two; immediately west is the Hill Country. “We call it ‘the edge of night,’ because you have dark skies that are close to very populated cities,” says IDA board member Ken Kattner, a Houston lawyer and amateur…

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At Davis Mountains Preserve, explore a ‘sky island’

At Davis Mountains Preserve, explore a ‘sky island’

  “You don’t need an understanding of biodiversity or ecosystems to be struck by how unique the Davis Mountains are when you drive into them,” says Laura Huffman, State Director of the Nature Conservancy in Texas. A few years after the purchase of that first chunk of preserve land, the Nature Conservancy established the nearly 5,000-acre Madera Canyon Preserve a few miles away. Then, in 2004, it bought the 10,000-acre strip of land that separated the parcels, creating a contiguous…

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South Llano River State Park earns dark sky status

South Llano River State Park earns dark sky status

  • February 23, 2017
  • News

Looking for darkness, shooting stars and comets? Head to South Llano River State Park, which just became the third state park in Texas – along with Copper Breaks State Park and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area – with International Dark-Sky Park status. South Llano River State Park earns a “3” on the Bortle Scale, which ranks skies from 1 to 9, with one for the darkest skies and nine for the least dark, according to a press release from the…

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