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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, 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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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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