Dark Sky Preservation

We are losing the dark of night at the speed of light

What is light pollution?

Light pollution is excessive or inappropriate outdoor lighting. Light pollution hinders astronomy, wastes money, harms wildlife, threatens human health and safety, and robs us of our cultural heritage of a starry sky.

Over 15 years ago NASA reported that perhaps two-thirds of the world's population can no longer look upwards and see the Milky Way. The problem is getting worse. New estimates say that only 1 out of 5 people can see the Milky Way. 

Common forms of light pollution include:

  • Glare — excessive brightness causing visual discomfort
  • Urban sky glow — brightening of the night sky
  • Light trespass — light falling where it's not intended or needed.

You can help save our stars!

Solutions to light pollution are simple and save money!

  1. Use fully shielded, dark-sky friendly fixtures. That means lights shine down, not up.
  2. Only use lights when needed. Install timers and dimmer switches, and turn off lights when not in use. 
  3. Use the right amount of light. Too much light is wasteful and impairs vision.
  4. Use long-wavelength lights with a red or yellow tint to minimize negative health effects.
  5. Educate your neighbors, local school, and community associations about light pollution.
  6. Work with community leaders to develop a lighting ordinance.
  7. Become a member of IDA (international Dark Sky Association) today!
  8. Become a member of RCA's Dark Sky Advocacy Committee.

"I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream." — Vincent van Gogh

Dark Sky Advocacy - Get Active!

The RCA Dark Skies DIrector and Liaison to IDA is Dawn Nilson. For more information contact her.

The Oregon Legislature passed a lighting bill on May 1st, 2009, House Bill #3367.

RCA Discussion group here.

NW Region discussion group here

RCA supports the International Dark Sky Association and the Pacific Northwest Section of International Dark Skies.

RCA supports the International Dark Sky Association and the Pacific Northwest Section of International Dark Skies.

International Dark-Sky Association

The mission of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through quality outdoor lighting.


1. Stop the adverse effects of light pollution, including;

  • Energy waste, air and water pollution caused by energy waste
  • Harm to human health
  • Harm to nocturnal wildlife and ecosystems
  • Reduced safety and security
  • Reduced visibility at night
  • Poor nighttime ambience

2. Raise awareness about light pollution, its adverse effects, and solutions

3. Educate about the values of quality outdoor lighting.

Dave Ingram, NW Leader of IDA - Light Pollution: A 30 minute discussion on how too much light can impact our life and our environment, and what is being done about it from a radio broadcast on 9/24/2013.

Losing the Dark

Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy, it disrupts wildlife, and affects human health. The yellow glows over cities and towns — seen so clearly from space — are testament to the billions spent in wasted energy from lighting up the sky.

To help raise public awareness of some of the issues pertaining to light pollution, Loch Ness Productions in collaboration with the International Dark-Sky Association has created a 6.5-minute "public service announcement" called Losing the Dark. It introduces and illustrates some of the issues regarding light pollution, and suggests three simple actions people can take to help mitigate it.

Losing the Dark was initially created in fulldome video format for digital planetarium use. It also has been made as a conventional flat screen video, for use in classrooms, kiosks, museum theaters, and advocate multimedia presentations. Classic planetarium theaters without fulldome capability can show this version using their traditional video projectors.