The Dark Sky of Borrego Springs

Did you know that Borrego Springs is one of four International Dark Sky Communities in the World?

 

What is a Dark Sky Community?

A Dark Sky Community is a community that has excelled in its efforts to achieve a community-wide lighting code, promote responsible lighting, and dark sky stewardship. Borrego Springs has reduced its light pollution and has set an example to surrounding communities on the possibilities available with the proper lighting.

Borrego Springs, the remote town surrounded by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, is on the very short list of Dark Sky Communities in the World. But, with all the places in the world, what makes an area a great place to see the night sky and why are there only four communities in the world that are official Dark Sky Communities?

 

Light Pollution (light pol•lu•tion) -
The glow from street and domestic lighting that obscures the night sky and hinders the observation of stars.

 

In most cities, if you look up at the sky, the stars seem to be far and few between because of all the streetlights, billboards, etc,. It’s likely that you see more airplane lights than stars in your urban neighborhood. Now, think about if you took away all the streetlights, billboards, lit up signs for stores that aren’t open, and your neighbor’s porch light that’s on all night….
You look up at the sky and you see the Big Dipper, Orion’s Belt and a countless amount of stars. You can even see the Milky Way on an especially clear night.

Light Pollution is caused by, simply put, too many lights. It is a growing problem with an easy solution.
We aren’t the only ones being affected by light pollution, it disrupts the natural environment around us. Commercial and residential lighting influences nesting choices and even breeding success of birds, even sea turtle hatchlings get disorientated from nearby lights. It also disturbs nocturnal animals and kills a lot of bugs, which are the main food supply for many animals.


So, What Can You Do to Reduce Light Pollution?

• Reduce light pollution in your home by turning off lights that don’t need to be on. When you leave a room, turn the light off.
• Make sure your outside lights are shielded and angled downward so they don’t cause a glare.
• Consider getting a motion-detector for your security light outside. It can pay for itself in energy savings in just a few months.
• Spread the word! Tell your friends and neighbors the facts about light pollution.

 

Check out http://www.darksky.org to get more information about the International Dark Sky Association!

Photos by Kevin Kay - http://www.flickr.com/photos/slworking/

 

Written by Emi Gates, Communications Assistant for the Anza-Borrego Foundation

 

 

 

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