April’s International Dark Sky Week urges homebound families to “look up together”

April’s International Dark Sky Week urges homebound families to “look up together”

Press Release: International Dark-Sky Association – For Immediate Release: April 9, 2020 During International Dark Sky Week, April 19-26, the International Dark-Sky Association invites you and your family to engage with dynamic authors, educators, artists, and scientists from around the world who are excited to share their passion for astronomy, our cultural connection to the stars, life in the dark, and how we can work together to protect the night. “Right now, families around the globe find themselves spending many…

Read More
2020 Hill Country Night Sky Song Contest announced

2020 Hill Country Night Sky Song Contest announced

  • April 6, 2020
  • News

Press Release: Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky – For Immediate Release: April 6, 2020 The Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky (BCFNS) has announced the 2020 Hill Country Night Sky Songwriting Contest.  This year’s contest, open to songwriters of any genre or residence, focuses on the theme “Preserving the Night Sky.”  Deadline for song submission is September 25, 2020. “Last year’s contest was such a success we decided to do it again!” said Larry Seiler, BCFNS treasurer and owner…

Read More
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.…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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.…

Read More

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…

Read More