Arizona City Sees Success Keeping Its Night Sky Dark
A decadeslong commitment to preserving a dark sky for stargazers and wildlife is paying off for a small Arizona city, with satellite images showing far less excess artificial light than cities of comparable size, the National Park Service said.
The state, with mountain peaks and stretches of desert sky that are a haven for astronomers, is a leader in efforts to protect the dark, including using fewer lights or dimmed LED lights, the International Dark-Sky Association said. Arizona is home to three of the nation's largest telescopes.
Darkness preserves people's ability to see stars and spot the Milky Way, an ever-dwindling phenomenon, and is critical to bird migration and survival of insects that larger animals eat, the park service said.
"This issue goes beyond astronomy. It has impacts on wildlife ecology, public safety, potentially public health," said John Barentine, program manager for the Tucson-based dark sky group.