AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 120. Protecting Local Dark-Sky Areas and Sky Brightness as a Part of Education in Astronomy
Special Session Oral, Wednesday, January 9, 2002, 2:00-3:30pm, Georgetown East

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[120.08] Preserving Dark Skies: Do Astronomers Care?

D.R. Davis, D.L. Crawford (International Dark-Sky Association)

Ground based telescopes are, even in this era of planetary missions and space telescopes, the dominant source of data on solar system objects. Yet many of the premier observing sites in the world are threatened by increasing artificial light that is scattered into the sky - light pollution. World class observing sites such as Mt. Wilson have long since lost the ability to do cutting edge faint object science and observatories in Southern Arizona have been recently threatened - the Canoa Ranch development being the most recent example.

Yet there are actions that can be taken to preserve dark skies, not only for astronomy, but also for the benefit of all humanity. Lead by astronomers, effective outdoor lighting codes have been produced and adopted by many jurisdictional authorities. Advocacy organizations such as the International Dark-sky Association (IDA) distribute educational material on how to preserve dark skies through good outdoor lighting practices. Other institutions, such as the National Park Service, are realizing that dark skies are an integral part of the wilderness experience and are taking steps to preserve the quality of their skies.

However, the primary beneficaries of dark sky preservation efforts, namely the ground based astronomical community, have largely failed to become involved in efforts to preserve dark skies. For example, only a few percent of the membership of the American Astronomical Society is active in light pollution work or is even a member of IDA.

In this presentation, Iwe will outline what is being done locally to preserve dark skies througout the world. In addition, some observations on the level of support from the astronomical community will be offered. ~

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.darksky.org. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: drd@psi.edu

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