Turn Down the Light, Turn Up the Night, International Dark Sky Week is April 1-8, 2011!<p>
Crowds wait to see the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury at a South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association (SFAA) Public Observing Night

There are many reasons to participate in International Dark Sky Week, one important reason is to help persuade your neighbors to turn down the lights. Do your neighbors keep their outside lights on all night? Chances are they feel safe with the outside lights on. But, the reality is that most often, outside lights create glare and splatter, and don't direct the light appropriately. So that means that it's much easier for a lurker to hide in deep shadows - even in what appears to be like safe lighting. And, if you are being bothered by the light, your neighbor might not be aware of their light trespass. So you're both unsafe and possibly losing valuable sleep due to that extra lighting. Want to know how to talk to your neighbor? Here's a great guide, with visuals showing the difference between good and bad outdoor lighting. There's also a great letter to give to your neighbors in the guide.

If you're an educator, you might like to do the light pollution and shielding demo at the GLOBE at Night site.

Learn more about why a dark sky is so important by going to a Night Sky Network star party.

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Find star parties on Go StarGaze, the iPhone app!