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International Dark Sky Week is April 15 to 22

International Dark Sky Week: Logo with words and circle in corner and silhouette of man and girl pointing at the sky.
International Dark Sky Week is April 15 to 22, 2023. Image via IDA.

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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 83% of people around the world lives under a light-polluted sky. That’s why IDA has established an International Dark Sky Week, which in 2023 falls on April 15 to 22. 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 IDA hopes you’ll join the global dark sky movement to protect and celebrate our shared heritage of dark night skies.

According to 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.

5 labeled panels from city brightening the sky on left to darker shades and Milky Way on right.
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. The Lyrid meteor shower will be at its best around April 22. On the same date, Venus will shine near a thin crescent moon in Taurus the Bull. Nearby are two lovely star clusters, the diminutive Pleiades star cluster and the larger V-shaped Hyades star cluster with its bright red foreground star, Aldebaran.

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

Colorful and cloudy Milky Way with dim desert, rock formations, and silhouette of standing man looking at sky.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Amr Abdulwahab in the White Desert of Egypt captured this image on March 28, 2023. Amr wrote: “For more than 12 years I have visited the white desert every month for stargazing, astrophotography or even for relaxing and enjoying nature. I documented almost every rock, well, tree or even the huge sand dunes.” Thank you, Amr!
Dim seaside landscape with faint reddish aurora and starry sky behind.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Cameron Frankish at Lizard Point, Cornwall, UK, captured this image on March 24, 2023. Cameron wrote: “Went down to the most southerly point on the UK mainland to capture the Milky Way. Was amazed to capture the aurora so far south. It just looked like light pollution on the back of the camera. It wasn’t until I developed that I could see the aurora in all its glory.” Thank you, Cameron!

Bottom line: Celebrate dark night skies and help limit light pollution by raising awareness through the annual International Dark Sky Week, April 15 to 22, 2023. Find links to global events here.

April 15, 2023
Astronomy Essentials

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