International Dark Sky Week: Date, Meaning, Events
What started out as a high-school experiment by then-student Jennifer Barlow in 2003, has grown to an internationally celebrated event that acts as a key component of the Global Astronomy Month.
Barlow wanted to inspire people to observed the night sky without all the big-city light pollution. International Dark Sky Week runs from April 20 to 26.
“The universe is our view into our past and our vision into the future . . . I want to help preserve its wonder,” Barlow said on the event’s webpage.
The week is presented by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), an organization that raises awareness about the hazards of light pollution. “We work with manufacturers, planners, legislators, and citizens to provide energy efficient options that direct the light where you want it to go, not uselessly up into the sky,” reads their website.
Dozens of events are hosted during Dark-Sky Week that aim to inspire people to celebrate the beauty of the night sky, to raise awareness about the negative effects of light pollution, and encourage people to take action. The following is a breakdown of the seven days’ objectives during the week.
- Day 1 – Why Light Pollution Matters. Get a basic overview of light pollution including what it is and how it happens
- Day 2 – Ill Health. Learn how light at night can be dangerous to human health.
- Day 3 – Environmental Harms. Discover how light pollution puts animals and entire ecosystems at risk.
- Day 4 – Energy Waste. Find out how light pollution wastes energy and money and contributes to climate change
- Day 5 – Lighting, Safety & Crime. Learn why more and brighter lights can actually make us less safe.
- Day 6 – Stars are Our Heritage. Discover why the night sky is important for humanity.
- Day 7 – Take Action! Find out how you can simply and quickly make a difference.
A whole list of events that are taking place across the country can be found here.