Monday, June 9, 2008

The IDA Turns 20

This week the International Dark-Sky Association is holding its 20th annual meeting. Yup, the IDA has been fighting for your right to see the night sky since 1988.

Sunday featured board meetings, section meetings and an evening excursion to Kitt Peak National Observatory to join their Nightly Observing Program. It made for a long day, but everyone had a fantastic experience there. Palomar may have a similar program some day, more on what is developing soon.

Today's meeting featured a morning heavy on information on lighting technologies and LEDs. Did you know that 20% of global electricity consumption comes from outdoor lighting? Imagine the energy savings that could come from more efficient and intelligent use of outdoor lighting.

You've probably seen those USA or World at Night photos that come from the Defense Meterological Satellite Program. Chris Elvidge from NOAA spoke about NightSat, a proposed satellite that could study light pollution and have many more applications. On that site is an amazing video of images of city lights taken from the International Space Station. It is certainly worth a look.

The day ended with a short talk by author Timothy Ferris and a screening of his movie Seeing in the Dark. I think they are re-running this on PBS this week. Check your local listings. You'll be glad you did.

Are you a member of the IDA? You should be. Find out how to join and by just about all you will ever need to know about outdoor lighting at

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