The 2014 International Dark Sky Week runs Sunday, April 20 through Saturday, April 26. The week is meant to inspire people to celebrate the beauty of the night sky and raise awareness about simple solutions available to mitigate light pollution. Here are some things you can do to celebrate International Dark Sky Week.
1. Check home lighting. 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 illumination required for the task at hand.
2. 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. Click here to find over three dozen events.
3. Talk to neighbors. Explain that poorly shielded fixtures waste energy, produce glare and reduce visibility. Give them an IDA brochure from the IDA website.
4. Become a citizen scientist with GLOBE at Night and document light pollution in your neighborhood and share the results. Doing so contributes to a global database of light pollution measurements.
5. Photograph the sky and enter the 2014 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest.
6. Download, watch, and share a public service announcement about light pollution called Losing the Dark. It can be downloaded for free and is available in 13 languages.
7. Explore online. Join International Dark Sky Association on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #IDSW2014), and check out the International Dark Sky Association website, which features a different theme for each day of the week.
Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, 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.
Bottom line: April 20-26, 2014 is International Dark Sky Week. Here are seven ways you can help celebrate and preserve the beauty of the night sky.