SF Amateur Astronomers Lecture Series: “The World’s Largest International Dark Sky Reserve”
On Wednesday, August 17th, 2022 at 7pm (Pacific time), Stephen Hummel (University of Texas, Austin, McDonald Observatory) and Amber Harrison (International Dark Sky Association) will give a free, illustrated, non-technical lecture entitled:
“The World’s Largest International Dark Sky Reserve”
The talk is part of the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers Lecture Series.
Over the past 100+ years, the world's night skies have been rapidly vanishing due to the spread of light pollution. Thankfully, solutions to the spread of human light exist. In a remote region of West Texas and Northern Mexico, astronomers, conservationists, parks, and many communities have teamed together to form the largest area in the world where the night sky is protected: the Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky Reserve. The reserve is not only over 15,000 square miles in area, but also the first such reserve to cross an international border.
At the core of the reserve is the University of Texas' McDonald Observatory, home to one of the largest telescopes in the world. McDonald Observatory has worked with surrounding communities for decades to promote better lighting practices to preserve our night skies, without requiring people to live in darkness.
Stephen Hummel, McDonald Observatory's Dark Skies Initiative Coordinator, will discuss the impact of artificial light as well as the strategies that have led to the reserve's success.
Amber Harrison, Dark Sky Places Associate, with the International Dark Sky Association, (IDA) will share her knowledge and experience as a Park Ranger at Big Bend Ranch, the largest, most remote, and darkest Park in Texas.