Celebrate International Dark Sky Week April 19 to 26

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat

Nebraska Tourism is celebrating International Dark Sky Week (April 19-26) by encouraging people to participate in a lights out campaign.

Light pollution plagues approximately two-thirds of Earth’s population, making it difficult or impossible for residents in some areas to experience a truly dark sky at night and enjoy an unadulterated view of the stars. Luckily, the solution to reducing light pollution is a simple one: turn off the lights.

“Nebraska has a lot of wide-open space that lends itself to some of the darkest night skies perfect for viewing the Milky Way. The view would be even better without light pollution,” said John Ricks, Nebraska Tourism Commission executive director. “We’re encouraging people to turn off their lights and introduce everyone stuck at home during these trying times the opportunity to discover another unique activity that they can enjoy in Nebraska – stargazing.”

Nebraska Tourism invites you to join us in enacting positive change by reducing our light pollution this week and beyond.

To participate in the lights out campaign, every night during International Dark Sky Week, April 19-26, pledge to take the following actions:

  • Turn off all nonessential outdoor and indoor lighting between 10:00 p.m. and sunrise each night of the week (and beyond!)
  • If possible, put any necessary outdoor lighting on timers or use motion sensors
  • Be mindful of outdoor lighting on your home and business to increase your energy savings and reduce light pollution by:
    • Only using outdoor lighting when it is actively needed
    • Only lighting the area that is being utilized
    • Only making the lights as bright as necessary
    • Only purchasing warm colored bulbs (3000 K or less) to help minimize harmful blue light emissions
    • Fully shielding (directing downward) all outdoor light fixtures
    • For more information on dark sky friendly outdoor lighting, visit: https://www.darksky.org/our-work/lighting/.

With COVID-19 creating more time at home for some, Nebraska Tourism has also come up with a list of activities to participate in at home every night during this lights out campaign:

Sunday, April 19: Try and Find Your Constellation.
     Pro Tip: The Lyrids Meteor Shower begins.

Monday, April 20: Take a picture of the night sky and share on social media using #HonestlyNE #NELightsOut.
     Pro Tip: Find night sky photography tips with your smartphone here.
     While looking at the night sky, use this Guide to Viewing the Bright Planets

Tuesday, April 21:Camp At Home for a chance to win prizes from Nebraska Game & Parks.
     Pro Tip: Set an alarm for anytime between 1 a.m. and dawn to witness the peak of the Lyrids Meteor Shower

Wednesday, April 22: Participate in a 10 p.m. moment of silence under the stars to solute all essential workers during this pandemic and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Thursday, April 23: Learn to Star Hop. Don’t know what that is? Read this.
     Pro Tip: More star-hopping tips for Spring can be found here.

Friday, April 24:  Become a Citizen Scientist.
     Pro Tip: Follow these Five Easy Star Hunting Steps

Saturday, April 25:Spot the International Space Station

Sunday, April 26: Plan a future Nebraska trip complete with stargazing opportunities. Click here for five places to get you started.
     Pro Tip: look for Venus on the horizon just to the left of the rising moon after sunset tonight

To follow along with Nebraska Tourism’s International Dark Sky Week lights out campaign, check out the Visit Nebraska Facebook Page and follow along using #HonestlyNE and #NELightsOut.

To check out other illuminating offerings during International Dark Sky Week, visit: https://idsw.darksky.org/.

For more information about travel, events and unique destinations in Nebraska, order your free travel guide today at VisitNebraska.com. Then stay connected with Nebraska Tourism on our Visit Nebraska Facebook page, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram and on YouTube.

The mission of the Nebraska Tourism Commission is to expand Nebraska’s dynamic and diverse travel industry making it more viable by creating awareness, attracting increased visitors which results in greater tourism revenue and economic gain throughout the state. To learn more, go to VisitNebraska.com.