GAM Dark Skies Awareness Programs

Image Credit: Babak Tafreshi (TWAN)

The growing loss of dark, starry night skies for much of the world's population is a serious issue, but one that can be easily addressed. And it's not just astronomical research that suffers. Light pollution affects human health, ecology, safety, security, economics, and energy conservation. According to the United Nations more than half of the world's population live in cities. More than three quarters in those cities have never seen the Milky Way, because of the light pollution where they live. The ability to view a starry night sky has inspired human kind for millennia. If we do not help solve the problem, our source of inspiration will subtly fade away. Is this the legacy we want to leave future generations? We can actually do something locally to help globally. We invite you to get involved in these Dark Skies Awareness Programs during Global Astronomy Month and beyond.

In short, the GAM Dark Skies Awareness programs are intended to raise awareness of the importance of preserving our dark, starry night skies and in the process, mitigating light pollution. To encourage people to participate, we have an array of enjoyable activities. For those interested in gorgeous starry night skies and the visual affects of light pollution, we have the International Earth and Sky Photo Contest. For those who would like to take easy night sky brightness measurements monitoring light pollution levels for scientists, you are invited to participate in the Globe at Night citizen-science campaign. For those who want to learn more about light pollution issues and how you can easily solve them, you are invited to take part in the International Dark Sky Week.

We also encouraged everyone to share their experiences with the world on Facebook  and Tweet using #GAM2017 (@gam_awb).

April 22-28, 2017 Celebrate the stars! Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, International Dark Sky Week (IDSW) has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. The goals of IDSW are to appreciate the beauty of the night sky and to raise awareness of how poor-quality lighting creates light pollution.

April 18-27 , 2017 Join the Worldwide Globe at Night 2017 Campaign! What would it be like without stars at night? What would we lose? Starry night skies have given us poetry, art, music and the wonder to explore. A bright night sky affects energy consumption, health, and wildlife. The Globe at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen scientists to measure their night-sky brightness and submit their observations from a computer or smart phone. Students and scientists use the data to monitor levels of brightness or...

March 25 - April 30 Enter the 8th International Earth and Sky Photo Contest on Dark Skies Importance. There will be up to 10 winners over two categories with the top prize usually a telescope. This is the 8th year the contest has run internationally and we are expecting it to be bigger than ever! Coordinated by The World At Night (TWAN), in conjunction with GAM 2017 and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory , the contest is open and free to anyone of any age, anywhere around the world. Submissions accepted through April. The winners will be announced in May....