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International Year of Astronomy Cornerstone. Dark Skies Awareness. Connie Walker National Optical Astronomy Observatory, USA. Some slides adapted from the International Dark-Sky Association Images courtesy of The World at Night. FROM IYA Dark Skies Awareness (DSA) TASK GROUP in EUROPE.

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International year of astronomy cornerstone

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

International Year of Astronomy Cornerstone

DarkSkies Awareness

Connie Walker

National Optical Astronomy Observatory, USA

Some slides adapted from the International Dark-Sky Association

Images courtesy of The World at Night

Darksky 2008 European Symposium


Dark Skies Awareness (DSA)


Darksky 2008 European Symposium

European Countries Involvement in and Commitment to Dark Skies Activities

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

European Countries Involvement in and Commitment to Dark Skies Activities, continued…

Global iya cornerstone dark skies awareness

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

Global IYA Cornerstone: Dark Skies Awareness

  • 3 Star Counting programs that span 2009

  • Program on Quiet Skies

  • Planetarium Program

  • Digital Photography

  • Traveling Exhibit

  • Educational Toolkit

  • PSAs (audio podcasts for radio, TV, sidewalk astronomy events)

  • Preservation of Dark Skies Places (including observatories!)

Measuring local levels of light pollution year round

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

Measuring Local Levels of Light Pollution Year-Round

  • WHAT IS BETTER THAN 1 fun, fast, no-frills star hunting program inviting citizen-scientists around the world to measure the amount of light pollution in their night sky?

  • 3 star hunting programs that cover the entire International Year of Astronomy!

Globe at night how many stars great world wide star count

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

GLOBE at NightHow Many Stars?Great World Wide Star Count

  • GLOBE at Night

    • Next GLOBE at Night campaign is March 16 - 28, 2009

    • Orion and Sky Quality Meters


  • How Many Stars?

    • Jan, Feb, April-Sept, Nov, Dec 2009

    • Little Dipper and 3 belt stars in Orion


  • Great World Wide Star Count

    • Oct. 20 - Nov. 3, 2009

    • Cygnus and Sagittarius


Earth hour 2009

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

Earth Hour 2009

  • Is an energy conservation event to be held on Saturday March 28, 2009 from 8:30-9:30 pm.

  • Dozens of cities around the world will turn off non-essential lights, conserving energy while allowing the public to see the dark skies from cities.

  • 2008 successful wave of darkness around the world


Quiet skies

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

Quiet Skies

  • Radio Frequency Interference, or RFI, is the radio equivalent of light pollution.

  • RFI effectively blinds radio telescopes at certain frequencies, making it impossible to study the Universe at those frequencies.

  • The Quiet Skies project (led by the NationalRadio Astronomy Observatory) introduces radio astronomy and the need for quiet skies to the public through a kit loan program to schools and museums.

  • Participants will measure the RFI levels in their commu-nities and enter their measurements into a database.

  • The RFI results will be graphically displayed

Planetarium program

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

Planetarium Program

  • A feature presentation that takes advantage of the interactive capabilities of small and portable domes to advocate dark skies and to introduce participants to star hunting programs.

  • A folklore story on the night sky

  • A demonstration of shielding lights

  • Presentation of Crelin’s book, “There Once was a Sky Full of Stars”.

  • The audience learns about a citizen-scientist star hunting program (GLOBE at Night).

  • Saving the Night (a powerpoint) illustrates the negative effects of improper lighting on the night sky.

  • And a lot more ancillary materials on light pollution

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

“Earth and Sky”

Photo Contest

  • Where amateur photographers combine Earth & Sky in one photo

  • A joint program of “The World Night” (TWAN) & IYA Dark Skies Awareness

  • GOAL: for these photos taken by the public to impress the public with the beauty and importance of dark skies and increase the public’s awareness of light pollution.

  • Educational resources developing on the TWAN website:

Traveling exhibits

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

Traveling Exhibits

  • Traveling exhibits are a wonderful method for providing outreach and education to communities on light pollution during events such as star parties, (e.g. sidewalk astronomy), museums, science centers, libraries, zoos, etc.

  • Traveling exhibits & vinyl posters on 4 themes are planned: 1 on outdoor lighting, 1 on effects on wildlife, 1 on effects on human health & 1 on energy conservation.

  • The effort is being coordinated by the IDA.

Light pollution education toolkit

Darksky 2008 European Symposium


“candle mode”

shielded light

Planetarium with light inside

Light Pollution Education Toolkit

Shielding Demo (in a dark room with a white tabletop)

What difference do you note with and without the shield?

Psa podcasts

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

PSA & Podcasts

  • Audio podcasts & a video PSA will be created to communicate the need to protect dark skies.

  • The 365 Days of Astronomy podcasts will include shows dedicated to light pollution.

  • From the folklore stories to the loss of dark skies, this podcast will take its listeners on 1 to 5-minute “plunges” into how the sky touches our society.

  • Project is led in collaboration with the New Media Task Group.

Preservation of dark skies places

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

Preservation of Dark Skies Places

  • to facilitate the preservation and protection of the world’s natural heritage of dark night skies in places, such as urban oases, national parks and observatories

  • to support UNESCO’s goals of preserving cultural and scientific values of historical astronomical sites for posterity.

  • International Dark Skies Places (designated by IDA)

  • UNESCO’s Astronomy and World Heritage Initiative

Darksky 2008 European Symposium


A picture is worth a

thousand words.

Preserve Dark Skies.

Milky Way arch over Alborz Mountains of Iran

Thank you for your kind attention

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

Thank-you for your kind attention!

For more information

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

For more information

  • Websites of interest:




  • Contact: Connie Walker

U s iya key program dark skies are a universal resource

Darksky 2008 European Symposium

U.S. IYA Key Program: Dark Skies are a Universal Resource

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Darksky 2008 European Symposium

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