Dark Sky Festival 2014

The International Dark-Sky Association South Florida Chapter is proud to announce:

Palm Beach County’s 2nd Annual Dark Sky Festival

Saturday, March 29th from 6-10pm

at the Okeeheelee Nature Center in West Palm Beach, FL

The purpose is to raise public awareness about light pollution and sky glow in our area. Sky glow is caused by wasteful lighting practices and fixtures that allow light to escape upward. It wastes energy and impacts wildlife including sea turtles, frogs, birds, mammals and insects; and makes it difficult to view and enjoy the wonders of starlight in the night sky.

This family-friendly event will highlight the issues, offer solutions and feature stargazing, presentations and vendors.  Last year close to 1000 attendees came to enjoy the event.  Don’t miss it !!

Additional details coming soon.
For directions, visit the nature center’s website (click here)

Hosted By:
– Palm Beach Environmental Resource Management (ERM)
– Palm Beach Parks & Recreation

Supporters include:
– IDA South Florida
– Astronomy clubs in the region


IDA Annual General Meeting: November 10, 2012

The first inaugural Astronomy & Science Expo (ASAE) in the Southwest region will be hosted November 10-11 at the Tucson Convention Center. Exhibitors and manufacturers of astronomical products from around the world will feature top telescopes, binoculars, mounts, cameras, domes, and accessories.

World-renowned speakers such as Astronaut Donald Pettit (just home from the International Space Station); Dr. Steele Hill of NASA SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory); and Geoff Notkin, from Discovery Channel’s “Meteorite Men” will make appearances along with others.

Events include, but are not limited to, lab tours at the University of Arizona, an imaging workshop by astrophotographer Adam Block, digital planetarium shows, daily solar observing, and nighttime star parties.

A wide variety of exhibitors will also attend including Astronomy Magazine, Astronomers without Borders, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Kielder Observatory, NASA James Webb Space Telescope, Tele Vue, and of course, the International Dark-Sky Association.

The ticket price for Saturday attendance to ASAE, allowing access to all exhibits and talks, is $10 and can be purchased at the door or ahead of time (preferred) on ASAE’s website. To buy tickets and to see a full list of speakers, vendors and exhibitors visit ASAE’s website: http://www.scienceandastronomy.com

In addition to IDA’s attendance and participation at ASAE, IDA plans to hold the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for IDA members and non-members. During this AGM invited speakers and experts will address dark sky issues. IDA will also host a dark sky workshop. Tickets for the IDA reception will be available at the IDA booth during ASAE for anyone who would like to attend. More information on IDA’s AGM will be posted in the IDA E-newsletter and the next Nightscape magazine.

New Planetarium Show In the Works: “Losing the Dark”

One frame from a time-lapse sequence shot in Chicago by Dome3D, showing light pollution at ground level. (c) 2012 DOME3D

A simulated depiction of a majestic star-filled night sky is seen daily at 1,600 planetariums nationwide. This results in a total viewing audience exceeding 30 million annually. Yet many in the audiences do not believe what they are seeing is real because it looks so drastically different from the night sky in their own backyards. With the release of “Losing the Dark” each of these planetariums will have the opportunity to not only introduce more than 30 million people to the reality of the disappearing night sky, but also to explain the causes and what each person in the audience can do about it.

“Losing the Dark” is being created by Loch Ness Productions in cooperation with Adler Planetarium in Chicago with the direction of the International Dark-Sky Association’s Education Committee, headed by Dr. Constance Walker. Connie is senior scienceeducation specialist of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and also a member of IDA’s board of directors.

When completed, the show will be a six- to seven-minute short, full-dome planetarium experience shown at the beginning of planetarium feature shows. When the project is fully funded, planetariums nationwide will be supplied with a free copy of the film. Families, school groups, and any attendee coming in to see “the night sky” for the first time will not only be amazed by the experience, but will also realize the possibilities for the night sky outside of the dome.

The piece defines the problems with light pollution, its effects on life, and three ways in which people can implement “wise lighting” practices to mitigate light pollution.

“Losing the Dark” uses clear narration and dramatic, immersive visuals to show how the sky glow from cities and towns has encroached even into remote areas of wilderness. It details how this luminous fog of artificial light disrupts the circadian cycles of plants, animals, and humans; wastes energy; contributes to air pollution and global climate change; and deprives everyone of the night sky’s true beauty. A trip to the planetarium now becomes more than a day to learn about the night sky, it becomes a mission to save it.

Planetariums will not be the only venue for this film. IDA will contract to produce a traditional “flatscreen” version of the Public Service Announcement (PSA). This will allow its broadcast and viewing in traditional outlets like classrooms, museum kiosks, YouTube and iTunes downloads, and for dark sky advocates to use it in their own presentations. The film will also be translated into many languages to make it accessible internationally.

IDA is currently looking for donations to finish this important work and will match your donation up to $5,000. To help support this project or help raise funds for it, please contact Scott Kardel at wskardel@darksky.org. The show was premiered in August at the International Astronomical Union meeting in Beijing.

Frame from a time-lapse sequence in Chicago by Dome3D, showing light pollution at ground level. © 2012 DOME3D

The view of light pollution as seen from the International Space Station. © 2012 Loch Ness Productions