Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, to appreciate the beauty of the cosmos and consider ways to reduce the spread of light pollution, International Dark Sky Week has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. Each year it is held in April around Earth Day and Astronomy Day. This year for International Dark Sky Week, there are events happening all over the world and here in Mayo we have some really exciting events taking place.
The good news is that light pollution is reversible and its solutions are immediate, simple and cost-effective. Here are a few simple things you can do to confront the problem and take back the night:
• Check around home. Shield outdoor lighting, or at least angle it downward, to minimize “light trespass” beyond your property lines. Use light only when and where needed. Motion detectors and timers can help. Use only the amount of light required for the task at hand.
• Attend or throw a star party. Many astronomy clubs and International Dark Sky Places are celebrating the week by holding public events under the stars.
• Download, Watch, and Share “Losing the Dark,” a public service announcement about light pollution. It can be downloaded for free and is available in 13 languages.
• Talk to your neighbours and your community. Explain that poorly shielded fixtures waste energy, produce glare and reduce visibility.
• Become a Citizen Scientist with GLOBE at Night or the Dark Sky Rangers and document light pollution in your neighborhood and share the results. Doing so, contributes to a global database of light pollution measurements.
• Photograph the sky and enter the 2018 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest, which aims to educate the public about light pollution (contest dates to be announced in early March).