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International Dark Sky Week is April 5 to 12

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.

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.

Use this poster to help spread the word: It’s International Dark Sky Week! Celebrate April 5 to 12, 2021, by teaching others the night sky. Image via IDA.

Starry night sky and curve of Earth's horizon from space with part of ISS visible.

View larger. | Lightning, airglow, and the Milky Way galaxy lit up the night sky as astronauts passed over Kiribati in the central Pacific. Read more about this image. Image via NASA Earth Observatory.

The Milky Way stretches over background with bridge in foreground.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jatinkumar Thakkar in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, captured this photo of the Milky Way on March 20, 2021. He wrote: “Cape Cod has the darkest sky within the state. As the Milky Way season has begun, my friends and I decided to go to Cape Cod to take pictures of the Milky Way near the seashore. What a calm and clear night! We could see a clear reflection of the Milky Way in the water.” Thank you, Jatinkumar!

Stars and star clouds of Milky Way.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Samee Ullah in Naran, KPK, Pakistan, captured this photo of the Milky Way on March 1, 2021. Samee wrote: “Milky Way in the suburbs of Naran, Pakistan.” Thank you, Samee!

Bottom line: The 2021 International Dark Sky Week runs from April 5 to April 12.

Kelly Kizer Whitt

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