Taking place the week of April 5-11, 2013, International Dark-Sky Week is meant to “highlight” the problems arising from light pollution and its negative impacts on the night sky, ourselves, and the environment. According to the press release from the International Dark-Sky Association there are many ways to celebrate this event as well as Astronomers Without Borders’ Global Astronomy Month.
“Celebrate the stars! Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, IDSW has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. The goals of IDSW are to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.”
“Light pollution is a growing problem. Not only does it have detrimental effects on our views of the night sky, but it also disrupts the natural environment, wastes energy, and has the potential to cause health problems.”
“Here are some ways that you can spread the word about IDSW during April 5-11 — and all year-long:
- Join us Online! Post about dark skies awareness on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media you like. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, G+, and/or Pinterest. Find out more about our participating partners. And if you would like to become a partner email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn out how you can too!
- Check around your home. Make sure your outdoor-lighting fixtures are well shielded — or at least angled down — to minimize “light trespass” beyond your property. Do you have security lights that stay on all night? Consider adding a motion-detector, which can pay for itself in energy savings in just a few months. You’ll find lots of great suggestions in “Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting” and you can perform your own outdoor lighting audit.
- Talk to your neighbors. Explain that bright, glaring lights are actually counterproductive to good nighttime vision. Glare diminishes your ability to see well at night, because the pupils of your eyes constrict in response to the glare — even though everything else around you is dark. Show them this handout.
- Ask your local library if you can put up an IDA poster showing good and bad lights. Include a photo of the Earth at night, and take some pictures around town that show examples of good and bad lighting.
- Become a Citizen Scientist with GLOBE at Night and similar programs, observe light pollution wherever you are and contribute to reports coming in from across the globe about light pollution. Or join GLOBE at Night’s Adopt-A-Street program and ‘map’ light pollution in your community.
- Become a Dark Sky Ranger. Teachers and families can do these activities that include an outdoor lighting audit, a game, and hands-on crafts to help visualize the night sky better. In English. In Portuguese.
- Attend or throw a star party! International Dark Sky Week is a great opportunity to dust off the old telescope in your attic and use it share in the wonder of the universe with your family, friends, and neighbors. Visit the Night Sky Network to find a calendar of star parties or to find an astronomy club in your area. Click here to find out what’s up in the sky. This activity book is full of great activities for budding stargazers of all ages!
- Photograph the sky and enter it in the 2013 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest, run by The World at Night, or photograph some constellations and submit the pictures to the Dark Skies Photo Project to measure light pollution.
- Download, Watch, and Share “Losing the Dark,” IDA’s public service announcement. Learn more.”