According to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) – founded in 1988 and based in Tucson, Arizona – light pollution is increasing at a rate two times that of population growth, and 83% of the global population lives under a light-polluted sky. That’s why the group has established an International Dark Sky Week, which in 2021 falls on April 5 to 12. Goals for the week include turning off unneeded exterior lights and considering leaving them off all year long. The group also hopes you’ll learn the stars and constellations, and teach them to others, and join the global dark sky movement to protect and celebrate our shared heritage. According the the IDA:
It may seem harmless, but light pollution has far-reaching consequences that are harmful to all living things. Effective outdoor lighting reduces light pollution, leading to a better quality of life for all. The dark sky movement is working to bring better lighting to communities around the world so that all life can thrive.
Looking for ways to celebrate International Dark Sky Week? Find International Dark Sky Week events all over the world, organized by astronomy clubs, schools, universities, communities and more. Visit EarthSky’s Tonight page to see what you can view in the sky this week. Visit EarthSky’s Best Places to Stargaze page to find a good dark-sky observing site close to home. Share your night sky photos at EarthSky Community Photos.
Bottom line: The 2021 International Dark Sky Week runs from April 5 to April 12.
Kelly Kizer Whitt has been a science writer specializing in astronomy for more than two decades. She began her career at Astronomy Magazine, and she has made regular contributions to AstronomyToday and the Sierra Club, among other outlets. Her children’s picture book, Solar System Forecast, was published in 2012. She has also written a young adult dystopian novel titled A Different Sky. When she is not reading or writing about astronomy and staring up at the stars, she enjoys traveling to the national parks, creating crossword puzzles, running, tennis, and paddleboarding. Kelly lives with her family in Wisconsin.