A dark night sky full of big bright stars is important here in the Hill Country, just like clean rivers, scenic vistas and natural landscapes. Little by little, light-by-light, the magical mystery of the big Texas night sky is diminishing. But it’s not too late to reverse this trend. Directing lights downward and turning them off when not needed makes a big difference.
HCA presents a special screening of The City Dark followed by an informative lecture by astronomer, Bill Wren of the McDonald Observatory; Wednesday, December 11th at the Bee Cave City Hall. Doors open at 6:30, the one-hour film starts at 7:00 followed by Bill’s presentation and time for Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.
Bill Wren of the McDonald Observatory, known as the “ambassador of the night sky,” will share his expertise about simple strategies to protect starry skies. “It’s a ‘win-win’ situation” says Wren. “We can have effective, cost-efficient lighting without polluting the night sky.”
The City Dark is a feature documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night sky. It premiered in competition at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize for Best Score/Music. The film follows filmmaker (and amateur astronomer) Ian Cheney, who moves to New York City from Maine and discovers an urban sky almost completely devoid of stars. Posing a deceptively simple question—“What do we lose, when we lose the night?”—the film leads viewers on a quest to understand how light pollution affects people and the planet.
Did you know Travis County is about to add an observatory at Reimers Ranch? The more we reduce light pollution, the more stars our kids will see at night!
HCA has been partnering with the McDonald Observatory and local Hill Country community organizations creating an entire menu of programs aimed at reducing light pollution. Workshops have been hosted in Junction, Fredericksburg, Johnson City, Llano, Kerrville, San Antonio and San Marcos. A “Night Sky Coop” was formed in 2011 where landowners and businesses take a voluntary pledge to end light trespass from their land. In 2012, a new chamber of commerce recognition program was created where businesses are acknowledged for being night sky friendly.
More information about protecting the Night Skies of the Hill Country can be found at www.hillcountrynightskies.org