Over the past 100+ years, the world's night skies have been rapidly vanishing due to the spread of light pollution. Thankfully, easy solutions to light pollution exist. In a remote region of West Texas and Northern Mexico, astronomers, conservationists, parks, and many communities have teamed together to form the largest area in the world where the night sky is protected: the Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky Reserve. The reserve is not only the largest of its kind at over 15,000 square miles in area, but also the first such reserve to cross an international border. At the core of the reserve is the University of Texas' McDonald Observatory, home to one of the largest telescopes in the world. McDonald Observatory has worked with surrounding communities for decades to promote better lighting practices to preserve our night skies, without requiring people to live in darkness. Stephen Hummel will discuss the impact of artificial light as well as the strategies that have led to the reserve's success.
Speakers: Stephen Hummel, University of Texas McDonald Observatory; Amber Harrison, International Dark Sky Association, Tucson
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