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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Almanac: Celebrating Darkness

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about Flagstaff, Arizona's Celebration of the Night. The newly-declared International Dark Sky City makes it a point to turn out the lights to see the city's stars.


ROSS: It's Living On Earth. I'm Pippin Ross.


ROSS: Walk in a typical city at night and look up. You could be blinded by glare from street lamps. But in Flagstaff, Arizona, you'll probably see stars. In October, the International DarkSky Association declared Flagstaff the first International DarkSky City, and the city is just finishing a month-long Celebration of the Night. Festivities include poetry, dance, and art exhibits, all to honor a clear view of the heavens.

To combat the very modern problem of light pollution, local storytellers described the amazing skies Arizona natives used to see generations ago. In most cities today, only the brightest constellations are visible. But protecting the night from light pollution is not just important to star gazers. The International DarkSky Association estimates that the U.S. wastes one billion dollars every year in light energy.

Artificial light spills up into the sky instead of onto the ground, where it's supposed to help people watch where they're going. The desert is an appropriate place to lead the fight on light pollution. Flagstaff is home to several deep space research observatories and the Arizona deserts have long been an ideal spot to take in all the glory of the Milky Way. And that's this week's Living On Earth Almanac.



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