If you live in Florida or are anywhere near Florida, you will want to check out the Dark Sky Festival at Harmony. Their slogan is "Be part of the solution, fight light pollution!" This is a fantastically wonderful event for everyone, not just astronomy buffs.
But let me digress… there was a time not terribly long ago, when everyone on the planet could see the stars at night and even the least educated knew which way was north by looking up at the sky. Sad to say, this is no longer true.
Now, the only way to see the night sky is to be an astronomy buff, to own a fairly expensive telescope and drive miles from home in most cases to view the night sky.
I wish I could make it to this event, but even though I won’t be there, I am so glad that it’s taking place. This event and others like it are indicators that people all over the world are concerned about the loss of nighttime and the night sky. Such is the importance of educating people about what they don’t know they’re even missing!
Another very sad thought is that in another generation, if the dark skies are not regained, most people living on planet earth will not even know that stars exist. Those who do follow the stars will be few in number.
Thankfully, today’s astronomy buffs and others who care deeply about the environment and ecology are making noise and bringing these issues to the forefront. Events like this are so VERY cool.
And it won’t take just the desire by a few (even a large few) to make the kinds of changes required to get our dark skies back. Ordinances are popping up all over the world requiring dark sky protections.
Harmony is "an environmentally intelligent community located in Central Florida."
From the Dark Sky Festival web site, Harmony was chosen to host this event because:
- Harmony Town Square, where the event is held, is in an area rated as Class 4 on the Bortle Scale of Light Pollution.
- The developer has commited to protecting dark skies. For example, all street lighting, any park lighting and other public lighting uses full cut off fixtures. Private residential and commercial lighting is also held to this standard.
- The Central Florida Astronomical Society uses Harmony as one of their observing locations in Central Florida.
- The Harmony Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and the primary event sponsor, is located at Harmony and advises the Harmony developer on lighting and other measures to protect natural systems.
My nieces live in Central Florida and I’ll be encouraging them to go. I’m sure it will be an amazing event for all who attend.
Harmony was mentioned in National Geographic’s article "Our Vanishing Night."