2012 Night Sky News

December 13, 2012

Town to receive Night Skies lights

As our nation becomes more urbanized and as land ownership in rural areas becomes more fragmented, the problem of light pollution and the “disappearing stars” is receiving increasing attention. The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) has received $15,000 in grant funding from the Coypu Foundation to help the City of Junction and Kimble County to address this problem. Learn More

December 12, 2012

Blanco Chamber initiates night sky-friendly business recognition program

The Blanco Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Hill Country Alliance, this week announced the implementation of a Night Sky-Friendly Business Recognition Program. The voluntary program gives public acknowledgement to Blanco area businesses that have outdoor lighting that neither shines up into Blanco’s nighttime skies to create light pollution nor causes excessive glare that prevents others from enjoying the starry nights. Learn More

New HD View of Earth at Night

New HD images from space capture the use of artificial light in the United States and patterns of population density. NASA calls them the most detailed images yet. See images here. Learn about reducing sky glow here.

November 19, 2012

Delhi’s Disappearing Night Sky

“Thirty years ago you could see the Milky Way in the Delhi skies,” said Raghu Kalra, secretary of the Amateur Astronomers Association Delhi, in a telephone interview. “Today,” he said, “you can count the stars on your fingers.” More

November 7, 2012

Starry Skies at Enchanted Rock Thursday, November 15th

Join us for “Better Lights for Starry Nights”. The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is taking action to retrofit their own lighting – learn simple steps you can take to protect our beautiful Hill Country night skies. “Bill Wren of the McDonald Observatory will share his expertise on the importance of protecting the starry skies. Wren has been an astronomer at the observatory for more than 20 years. Like many of us, he developed an interest in looking at the stars as a child.” Read a wonderful Editorial from the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post here. Download a Starry Skies event flyer here. To learn more about the Hill Country Night Sky issue click here.

October 25, 2012

Texas Parks, Towns Embrace Dark Sky Movement

In recent years, Texas’ state parks have struggled with falling visitor numbers and budget cuts. These days, in their quest to lure people back, the parks are promoting opportunities for night-sky viewing, away from city lights. Read more from Texas Tribune.

September 18, 2012

Better Lights for Starry Nights, October 2 in Bee Cave

A dark night sky full of big bright stars is important here in the Hill Country, just like clean rivers, scenic vistas and natural landscapes. Little by little, light-by-light, the magical mystery of the big Texas night sky is diminishing. But it’s not too late to reverse this trend. Learn how you can do your part reduce light pollution. Details

September 12, 2012

Blanco service station does its part to preserve night skies

Have you noticed anything different lately about Blanco’s nights? There are more stars out. Why? Stripes has done a complete renovation of the canopy lights on its station on Highway 281, South in Blanco. The renovations are the culmination of several years of persistent efforts by a group of concerned Blanco citizens dedicated to preserving our night skies. Learn More

July 19, 2012

Into the Dark – Reclaiming our Night Skies

There was a time when the average person, even someone living in a city, could step outside his or her home and see the Milky Way. That time is long behind us. Electric light fills the night and blots out all but the brightest of stars in almost every urban area. It is estimated that more than two thirds of Americans live where they can no longer see and be inspired by the sight of the Milky Way. Read the full article from the June issue of The Planetary Report.

June 20, 2012

AMA: Health Implications of Light at Night ‘Serious’

The American Medical Association is acknowledging the growing evidence of health problems associated with exposure to artificial light, and is taking action that could lead to more government funding of research in this area. Learn More

June 14, 2012

Austin to spend up to $15 million to tamp down light pollution

Continuing its efforts to tamp down the glare in the skies above Central Texas, the Austin City Council decided to spend up to $15 million over the next two years to install new lights and parts on about half of the city’s street lamps. Read more from Statesman.com.

May 15, 2012

Stars-in-the-Park this Friday

Blanco State Park will host its quarterly Stars-in-the-Park event Friday night, May18, 2012, starting at 7:00 pm. This free event offers young and old and opportunity to learn about our night skies with the help of volunteer Hill Country Astronomers. Learn More

April 11, 2012

Group looks to preserve starry skies

Fearful that cloudless Hill Country skies could also become empty of stars, a new cooperative is trying to curb encroaching light pollution. Earlier this month, about 10 residents, businesses and ranchers rallied to form the Hill Country Night Sky Cooperative, an offshoot of the Hill Country Alliance, pledging to eliminate light that unnecessarily escapes from outdoor lighting fixtures on their property. The group’s hope is that through education and leading by example, neighboring landowners and businesses will be encouraged to follow suit. Read more from Statesman.com.

April 4, 2012

Second Annual Fredericksburg Star Party

The San Antonio League of Sidewalk Astronomers (SALSA) will host the Second Annual Fredericksburg Star Party on Saturday, April 7th, at Ladybird Johnson Municipal park. The public is invited to arrive early to examine several high quality, large apeture telescopes, as well as to to take part in the fun, educational pre-darkness activities. Details

Hill Country Unites to Preserve Night Skies

In the Texas Hill Country, the stars at night are not as bright as they once were. The view of this treasured natural resource, the awe of generations past, is being slowly dimmed due to the effects of encroaching light pollution. On April 3, 2012, a group of prominent Hill Country residents, businesses, and ranchers banded together at the Preserve at Walnut Springs, west of Johnson City, and formed the Hill Country Night Sky Cooperative. Read More

March 20, 2012

Help Preserve Our Night Skies, March 29 in Junction

A Dark Night Sky full of big bright stars is important, just like our clean rivers that flow through the Hill Country. But little by little, light-by-light, the magical mystery of the big Texas night sky is getting dimmer and dimmer. We need your help! Hill County Alliance invites you to learn how to save money, preserve our night skies and enjoy some stargazing. Details

March 12, 2012

The quest to save West Texas’ dark night skies

An excellent article from Texas Co-op Powers’s December 2010 issue on West Texas’ quest to save the night from artificial light. Read the article here.

February 15, 2012

Marian Blakemore Planetarium kicks off new lecture series, Relativity

The Marian Blakemore Planetarium’s inaugural session of Relativity will be held Saturday, Feburary 18th. The night will commence with a showing of award‐winning documentary The City Dark, followed by a discussion of the film led by Bill Wren, longtime employee of the McDonald Observatory. The City Dark examines light pollution and the alleged affects of “the disappearing night sky” on humanity. Read More

February 8, 2012

Big Bend National Park Designated as International Dark Sky Park

The stars at night are big and bright in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. The park was recently designated as an International Dark Sky Park, one of now just ten in the world. Big Bend National Park (BBNP) came in at the ‘Gold Tier’ level, meaning that the skies above the park are free from all but the most minor impacts of light pollution. Read more from IDA.

February 6, 2012

Spring Star Party — Fort McKavett, Texas, March 17, 2102

On the evening of March 17, 2012, the Texas Historical Commission and Fort McKavett State Historic Site will host its Star Party. The star party begins at dusk and the fort’s gates will remain open until 10:30 p.m. We invite everyone to come out early and stay late to enjoy an entertaining day and evening at Fort McKavett. Learn More