Fountain Hills earned a prestigious designation on January 8, 2018, when the International Dark Sky Association named it the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community. As our cities grow larger and our lights get brighter, many urban and suburban areas are losing their view of the night sky.
LEADING THE WAY
Fountain Hills leads the way in dark sky preservation because no other city in the world located so close to a major metro area has earned this designation. We are fortunate to have the McDowell Mountains shield us from some of the light pollution from Phoenix and Scottsdale. With a regional park to the north and two tribal reservations to the east and south, Fountain Hills is sure to maintain a special view of the night skies for the next generation and beyond.
IMPORTANCE OF PRESERVING THE NIGHT SKY
Light pollution has been linked to endangering wildlife and harming human health. Wildlife become disoriented in navigating and knowing day from night. Human circadian rhythms (wakefulness and sleep) are disrupted and cancer risk is increased. Smart lighting practices protect our health as much as it does the views of the night sky.
When it comes to safety, the Chicago Alley Lighting Project found that when alley lighting was increased from 90-watts to 250- watts, crimes in those areas increased. Smart lighting directs light to where it is needed and creates a wonderful balance between safety and starlight.
Dark sky-compliant lighting is not about diminishing safety or aesthetics, but about smarter practices for better health, a better environment and a chance for future generations to enjoy a view of the stars.
VIRTUAL DARK SKY FESTIVAL
After canceling their 3rd Annual Dark Sky Festival scheduled for March 28, the planning committee came up with a creative way to bring the event into people’s homes. The Virtual Dark Sky Festival debuted online at the same time the live event would have happened on their website, FHDarkSky.com.
If you missed this one-of-a-kind event, you can still watch it on their website through April. Viewers will enjoy a warm welcome from Mayor Ginny Dickey, learn about dark sky lighting tips, and discover what to see in the night sky through April.
Dr. Mario Motta, a board trustee with the American Medical Association discusses the adverse effects of light pollution on human health.
Ted Blank, board member of the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association and the International Dark Sky Discovery Center, co-founder of the Fountain Hills Astronomy Club, and NASA Solar System Ambassador shares about the Apollo Project: How Mankind Got to the Moon.
You’ll learn about late Fountain Hills resident Charles Juels. Using his telescope, now on display at the River of Time Museum, he discovered over 400 asteroids from his backyard in Fountain Hills. Shelley Reddy of the Fountain Hills Library shares about the library’s telescope lending program and digital resources people can use from home while the library remains closed.
For more information about dark sky preservation in Fountain Hills, visit FHDarkSky.com.