Dark Sky News: Artificial Satellites, Dark Sky Places

Dark Sky News: Artificial Satellites, Dark Sky Places

Artificial Satellite Constellations: A New Threat to Astronomy and Dark Skies? International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has gone on record opposing satellite clusters. An urgent response is needed before more clusters are launched. With many astronomers on break or otherwise tied up for the summer, help is being sought from amateur astronomers and astrophotographers. One thing you can do to help the effort to curb the proliferation of these clusters is to post time and location data and photos of the cluster to the RCA forum (I will start a thread for Starlink under the imaging SIG). I will get these photos to the active members of the committee assigned to respond to SpaceX. RCA and IDA will also conduct social media outreach using these images. If you are interested in assisting with modeling efforts, let me know and I will put you in touch with the appropriate team member. Stay tuned for more information.

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Status of International Dark Sky Places

By far, the most effective advocacy tool that IDA has found in its tool box is designating International Dark Sky Places (IDSP). As of June 2019, there are 122 IDSP’s world-wide totaling 22 million protected acres. Fifteen more IDSP’s are expected to be designated by the end of 2019. Because IDSP’s draw so much attention to dark sky issues as well as providing dark sky preservation, RCA’s Board has made helping to designate “Oregon’s First IDSP” one of its goals in the next two years. There are a few candidate sites where RCA has confirmed that the land managers are in favor of designation and where required studies in support of an application have either been initiated, nearly completed, or can be quickly conducted.

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The Human Health “Angle” of Light Pollution

The Human Health “Angle” of Light Pollution

The more awareness we “shine” on the importance of dark skies, the more we learn of the detrimental effects to biological organisms. Last June, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared that light at night is harmful to our health. Most recently, researchers studying hamsters found that animals can pass the damaging effects of nighttime light exposure to their offspring. We amateur astronomers know the value of dark skies in satisfying our innate sense of wonder, our passion for science, and our psyches’ fondness for the vast silence of space. But how do we appeal to the folks who haven’t caught the astronomy bug?

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It’s International Dark Sky Week! (April 4-10)

It’s International Dark Sky Week! (April 4-10)

Here are 5 Ways to Celebrate and Be Part of the Solution

  1. Use this week to learn more about artificial light at night’s effect on human health, the environment, energy waste, crime and safety and our heritage of night skies.

  2. Perform a lighting audit of your home and/or business. 

  3. Help spread the word about light pollution and the importance of dark skies.

  4. Watch, and Share "Losing the Dark," a free, 6-minute film about light pollution. 

  5. Become a citizen scientist and collect data about the night sky in your neighborhood for Globe at Night.

 

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LED Streetlight Conversion in Portland

LED Streetlight Conversion in Portland

Good News or Bad?

If you live in Portland, you’ve probably noticed the replacement of our familiar soft yellow streetlights with bright blue-white bulbs. In 2012, Portland City Council approved the conversion of Portland’s streetlights from high pressure sodium (HPS) to light emitting diode (LED) technology. LEDs consume less energy than the old bulbs, will last about four times longer, and have lower maintenance costs. Good news, right?

Well, yes & no....

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