Songwriters unite in support of Blanco’s night skies and BHS students learn how to preserve the night sky

Songwriters unite in support of Blanco’s night skies and BHS students learn how to preserve the night sky

Thirteen area songwriters gathered on Friday, November 22 in the basement of Liz on the Square in Blanco to perform original songs for the “Deep in the Dark of Texas ™” songwriting contest, sponsored by the Blanco County Friends of the Night Sky.   The more than 70 attendees were treated to a real “Blanco Happening” as the mostly local performers wowed the audience with song after original song extolling the virtues of the night sky or lamenting the light pollution…

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How communities are joining the fight to keep Texas’ night skies big and bright

How communities are joining the fight to keep Texas’ night skies big and bright

In his time as a naturalist at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Scott Whitener loved taking kids on night hikes. Whitener had left his previous job teaching in Fredericksburg partly because he wanted to spend more time outside. On treks up the massive granite dome, he encouraged young people to overcome their nerves as they grew accustomed to the dark, their senses sharpening in the absence of artificial light. A group of high school students from San Antonio made a…

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Hill Country photo contest winners announced

Hill Country photo contest winners announced

The Texas Hill Country is a unique region filled with diverse wildlife, clear springs, sprawling rural landscapes, historic towns, and some of the starriest night skies in the country. Each year the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) holds a photo contest encouraging photographers to capture the Texas Hill Country they would like to protect forever. HCA received over 300 entries in the 2019 photo contest from amateur and professional photographers alike. Submissions, ranging from the starry sky over Enchanted Rock, to…

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Light pollution is key ‘bringer of insect apocalypse’

Light pollution is key ‘bringer of insect apocalypse’

Light pollution is a significant but overlooked driver of the rapid decline of insect populations, according to the most comprehensive review of the scientific evidence to date. Artificial light at night can affect every aspect of insects’ lives, the researchers said, from luring moths to their deaths around bulbs, to spotlighting insect prey for rats and toads, to obscuring the mating signals of fireflies. “We strongly believe artificial light at night – in combination with habitat loss, chemical pollution, invasive…

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NIGHTS OVER TUCSON: How the Tucson, Arizona, LED conversion improved the quality of the night

NIGHTS OVER TUCSON: How the Tucson, Arizona, LED conversion improved the quality of the night

Can a lighting retrofit in a growing metropolitan city save energy, maintain safety standards, and protect the starry night sky? __ Tucson, Arizona, is a major metropolitan city in the southwest United States. The city has a long-standing commitment to best lighting practices that protect the night. In fact, people who move to the area often remark on how bright the stars appear to shine. But as the city has grown, so has its light pollution. With major astronomical observatories…

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These are the world’s best stargazing spots

These are the world’s best stargazing spots

FOR MANY CITY people, a clear night sky is a mythical beast. We’ve heard the legends inspired by the constellations and we know sailors used the stars to guide their way home, but urban light pollution means we can’t quite see the heavens ourselves. Enter the International Dark-Sky Association. The U.S. nonprofit, founded in 1988, recognizes parks, reserves, and places across the world that offer the best views of the galaxy we call home. Most are open to campers or…

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Dark Skies meeting attracts Medina crowd

Dark Skies meeting attracts Medina crowd

Nearly 40 people filled the meeting room at the Medina Community Library on Tuesday, Oct. 29, to be enlightened about a program called Dark Skies which helps combat light pollution from cities and towns. “We had a great turnout at the Medina Dark Skies Night,” said Cliff Kaplan, program manager for the Hill Country Alliance which sponsored the event along with the Bandera Electric Cooperative and the Medina Astronomy Club. “It is very clear that folks in Medina care deeply…

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New research sheds light on lunar phase impact on white-tailed deer

New research sheds light on lunar phase impact on white-tailed deer

Conventional wisdom has long held that deer are more active on moonlit nights and most active under a full moon. The day after, the conjecture followed, deer move around less in the daylight. Some hunters staked their outdoors reputations in support of the theory, as well as their ability to fill a freezer full of venison. Companies that publish solar-lunar tables for the use of hunters bet their businesses on it. After last weekend’s general hunting season opener coincided with…

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How Flagstaff, Arizona, switched to LEDs without giving astronomers a headache

How Flagstaff, Arizona, switched to LEDs without giving astronomers a headache

“I feel like we’re protecting the last tree, in a way.” That’s what Flagstaff, Arizona, city council member Austin Aslan said at a recent meeting. The subject of that earnest statement might surprise you: it was streetlights. To be more specific, he was talking about a careful effort to prevent streetlights from washing out the stars in the night sky. Flagstaff became the first city to earn a designation from the International Dark Sky Association in 2001. That came as a result…

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Geneva to be plunged into darkness (on purpose) to expose light pollution

Geneva to be plunged into darkness (on purpose) to expose light pollution

  • October 1, 2019
  • News

Almost 150 municipalities in greater Geneva will hold a planned blackout on Thursday night to raise public awareness of the negative effects of light pollution. Authorities across much of greater Geneva will switch off public lighting on the night of Thursday September 26 for a public awareness event being dubbed “La nuit est belle” (It’s a beautiful night/Nighttime is beautiful). “The initiative aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects of light pollution and also allow our 1 million inhabitants…

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