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International Dark Sky Week is April 2 to 8

International Dark Sky Week: Silhouette of two adults and two children pointing at crescent moon in dark sky, with text.
International Dark Sky Week is April 2 to 8, 2024. Image via IDA.
  • International Dark Sky Week is a worldwide celebration of the dark and natural night.
  • Light pollution is the human-made alteration of outdoor light levels.
  • Discover the night is the 2024 theme.

According to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) – founded in 1988 and based in Tucson, Arizona – light pollution is increasing at a rate twice that of human population growth. And 80% of people around the world live under a light-polluted sky. That’s why IDA has established an International Dark Sky Week, which in 2024 falls on April 2 to 8. The goal for the week is to discover the night. According to the IDA:

The most important thing you can do to protect the night is to learn about it!

Please help EarthSky keep going! Our annual crowd-funder is going on now. PLEASE DONATE today to continue enjoying updates on your cosmos and world.

The group also hopes you’ll learn the stars and constellations, and teach them to others.

Also, the IDA hopes you’ll join the global dark sky movement to protect and celebrate our shared heritage of dark night skies. DarkSky International promotes solutions that allow people to appreciate dark, star-filled skies while enjoying the benefits of responsible outdoor lighting.

According to the IDA:

For this International Dark Sky Week we encourage you to get outside at night! Whether going out for a night hike in a nearby International Dark Sky Park, or simply sitting on the back porch with friends with the lights out, take time to get to know your community and environment at night.

Five labeled panels of sky above a city, suburbs, and country, showing less and less light-polluted view.
Poor lighting in cities leads to larger amounts of light pollution. From a dark country sky, you can see the river of stars that makes up our galaxy, the Milky Way. Image via IDA.

Ways to celebrate International Dark Sky Week

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 night sky guide to see what you can view in the sky this week. A highlight for early morning risers is a slender crescent moon pairing up with Mars and Saturn in the morning twilight on April 5 and 6.

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.

Paul Bogard has written extensively on the importance of darkness. His book is titled The End of Night. His TEDx Talk focuses on why we need darkness. You’ll find his TEDx Talk here.

Poster with animals and insects around a bright streetlight.
Curbing light pollution also benefits wildlife. Image via IDA.

Dark-sky photos from the EarthSky Community

Submit your photo to EarthSky here

An old abandoned house on the prairie with a large, cloudy band of stars above.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | William Mathe made the 100-mile drive to Last Chance, Colorado, for this scene on March 16, 2024. William wrote: “The ranch house is a bit of a fixer-upper. But it has spectacular views of the core of our little Milky Way galaxy.” Thank you, William!
Silhouette of trees with enormous green curtain-like bands of light in the sky, with scattered stars.
Lucy Whitt, daughter of Earth Sky writer Kelly Kizer Whitt, captured the aurora from above the Arctic Circle somewhere from Norway to Finland on December 18, 2023. Image via Kelly Whitt.

Bottom line: Celebrate dark night skies and help limit light pollution by raising awareness through the annual International Dark Sky Week, April 2 to 8, 2024. Find links to global events here.

April 2, 2024
Astronomy Essentials

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