Light Conservation Saves Energy and Dark Skies
Inefficient lighting causes more disturbances than you might first think. Besides billions of wasted dollars on energy that is going to waste, it increases the greenhouse gases and also disrupts some animals' migratory patterns. Plus, in cities we are robbed of the beauty of the night sky. Here is what some clubs are doing to conserve the dark skies and eliminate light pollution in their communities.

The Westminster Astronomical Society in Maryland participated in the National Night Out Against Crime with the Skyesville Police Department. Many people believe that more lights mean less crime. In fact, many research studies have shown that this is not true. Skip Bird helped people understand this: "We got to look at Jupiter whenever it came out of the haze. Mostly we covered good neighbor lighting, going green, and why properly shielded lights help the police."

Another member of the club, David Gede, has a great attitude about some pesky lighting at recent star party: "We had fun when the big street light came on. We were able to use it as the sun and the demonstration not only worked very well, but also was a good light pollution demonstration."

In Missouri, the Springfield Astronomical Society worked with the Girl Scouts at a Leader Conference. Dale Flippo tells us that there were three great sessions. "The second session covered various ideals that the Girl Scout leaders could use for the Girl Scout meetings. I used the images of the size of the various planets to scale, then the size of various stars when compared to the Sun. I then talked about using mini-marshmallows and toothpicks with star maps to make the different constellations. I also covered how light pollution affects everyone, and that we should take a more pro-active approach towards light pollution."

At the Light Conservation Group Meeting of the Barnard Astronomical Society in Tennessee, John Mannone and other dedicated members discussed the best ways to deal with light pollution. In his poetic manner, he has inspired many in the Night Sky Nework. "It is clear to us that a major part of the strategy is education. And yes, I mean education in astronomy, too. The benefit to the average person that can be extracted from studying astronomy, or just being able to see the Milky Way, is almost unfathomable. Everything from the sheer joy of science for teachers and their students to the delight of discovery of the moon for the first time to a 6-year old, heck, a 60-year old, is priceless. There is a plethora of reasons to embrace the night sky, not just for the star-sparkled romance with a spouse, but because of the aesthetics it promotes. Just think about the rich astronomy-inspired contributions of Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart, Vincent van Gogh, or Robert Frost, not to mention Albert Einstein and Edgar Allan Poe."

To participate in an upcoming worldwide citizen science project, take a look at the GLOBE at Night project. Your local astronomy club is a great place to start your conservation efforts. Click here to contact your local astronomy club.