Press Release

International Dark Sky Week 2014

»Posted by on Apr 22, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

TUCSON, AZ – Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, International Dark Sky Week has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. Each year it is held in April around Earth Day and Astronomy Day. This year celebrations begin Sunday, April 20, and run through Friday, April 26. Join the International Dark-Sky Association for seven days of celebration, learning and action! In explaining why she started the week, Barlow said, “I want people to be able to see the wonder of the night sky without the effects of light pollution. The universe is our view into our past and our vision into the future. … I want to help preserve its wonder.” International Dark Sky Week draws attention to the problems associated with light pollution and promotes simple solutions available to mitigate it.   Why Does Light Pollution Matter? The nighttime environment is a crucial natural resource for all life on Earth, but the glow of uncontrolled outdoor lighting has hidden the stars, radically changing the nighttime environment. Before the advent of electric light in the 20th century, our ancestors experienced a night sky brimming with stars that inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature including some of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets. The common heritage of a natural night sky is rapidly becoming unknown to the newest generations. In fact, millions of children across the globe will never see the Milky Way from their own homes. We are only just beginning to understand the negative repercussions of losing this natural resource. A growing body of research suggests that the loss of the natural nighttime environment is causing serious harm to human health and the environment. For nocturnal animals in particular, the introduction of artificial light at night could very well be the most devastating change humans have made to their environment. Light pollution also has deleterious effects on other organisms such as migrating birds, sea turtle hatchlings, and insects. Humans are not immune to the negative effects of light in their nighttime spaces. Excessive exposure to artificial light at night, particularly blue light, has been linked to increased risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes and breast cancer.   But Don’t We Need Nighttime Lighting for Safety & Security? There is no clear scientific evidence that increased outdoor lighting deters crime. It may make us feel safer but it does not make us safer. The truth is bad outdoor lighting can decrease safety by making victims and property easier to see. Glare from overly bright, unshielded lighting creates shadows in which criminals can hide. It also shines directly into our eyes, constricting our pupils. This diminishes the ability of our eyes to adapt to low-light conditions and leads to poorer nighttime vision, dangerous to motorists and pedestrians alike. Another serious side effect of light pollution is wasted energy. Wasted energy costs money, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and compromises energy security.   What Can Be Done? The good news is that light pollution is reversible and its solutions are immediate, simple and cost-effective. Here are a few simple things you can do to confront the problem and take back the night: Check around your home. Shield outdoor lighting, or at least angle it downward, to minimize “light trespass” beyond your property lines. Use light only when and where needed. Motion detectors and timers can help. Use only the amount of illumination required for the task at hand. Attend or throw a star party. Many astronomy clubs and International Dark Sky Places are celebrating the week by holding public events under the stars. Talk to your neighbors. Explain that poorly shielded fixtures waste energy, produce glare and reduce visibility. Give them an IDA brochure from the IDA website. Become a Citizen Scientist with GLOBE at Night  document light pollution in your neighborhood and share the results. Doing so, contributes to a global database of light pollution measurements. Photograph the sky and enter the 2013 International Earth and Sky Photo Contest. Download, Watch, and Share “Losing the Dark,” a public service announcement about light pollution. It can be downloaded for free and is available in 13 languages. Explore Online. Join us on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #IDSW2014), and check out our website, which features a different theme for each day of the week. Visit us daily and learn something new.   International Dark Sky Week Daily Themes Day 1 (Sunday, 4/20) – Why Light Pollution Matters. Get a basic overview of light pollution including what it is and how it happens. Day 2 (Monday, 4/21)  – Ill Health. Learn how light at night can be dangerous to human health. Day 3 (Tuesday, 4/22)  – Environmental Harms. See how light pollution puts animals and entire ecosystems at risk. Day 4 (Wednesday, 4/23) – Energy Waste. Find out how light pollution squanders energy and money and contributes to climate change. Day...

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Mont-Megantic IDSR reports the installation of new amber LED street luminaires that are dark sky, human health and environment friendly

»Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Directors of the Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve (MMIDSR), which covers Granit and Haut-Saint-François RMCs as well as the City of Sherbrooke, are pleased to announce the installation of luminaires that are dark sky, human health and environment friendly in the municipality of Saint-Ludger, located at 75 km from Mont-Mégantic. These new luminaires offer DEL technology benefits (energy efficiency, controllability, durability), while respecting lighting principles endorsed by IDSRMM and its partners, such as better oriented lighting, less intensity, time- controlled and amber tones. These Philips StreetView luminaires, equipped with 1800 K amber DEL, are doubly innovative. Firstly, they emit optimum colour while minimising nocturnal blue light and its impacts on the dark sky and human health. Secondly, factory programming enables a gradual intensity reduction of 50 % at midnight, followed by a return to full power by 6 a.m. These features contribute simultaneously to reducing energy costs, preserving the dark sky, protecting living organisms from impacts of nocturnal blue light, while supporting a warmer, less glaring nocturnal environment. These DEL luminaires fully satisfy regulatory requirements overseeing outside lighting in the Dark Sky Reserve. This innovative installation carried out by the municipality of Saint-Ludger thus demonstrates that it is possible to implement DEL technology in our territories without jeopardising the dark sky and the nocturnal environment with white light. The new street lighting is well appreciated by authorities and citizens and shows once again that it is feasible to counter light pollution while adequately meeting security needs. MMIDSR directors take this opportunity to remind people, industries and municipalities to exercise care before installing white LED luminaires on the Dark Sky Reserve territory, since those are generally prohibited by regulations in effect on the Reserve, except in certain cases and for specific uses like sports grounds or commercial displays. Many amber DEL devices are now available on the market. Dark night is essential to life; let us work together to preserve it.   Sébastien Giguère Science Coordinator Mont-Mégantic National Park / ASTROLab of Mont-Mégantic / Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve      PDF...

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Mont-Megantic IDSR reports the arrival of new Phillips LED luminaires that are dark sky, human health and environment friendly

»Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Officials of Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve (MMIDSR), which covers Granit and Haut-Saint-François RMC and the City of Sherbrooke, are pleased to announce that Phillips has now made available a whole range of LED luminaires which are dark sky, human health and environment friendly. These new green luminaires allow us to put forward LED lighting technology while significantly limiting  emission of bluish light towards the sky and living areas, contributing to a better protection of starry skies and biological cycles related to the alternation of night and day. Moreover, these LED luminaires satisfy regulatory requirements overseeing outside lighting on the Reserve territory. This important step forward was made possible through the use of slightly amber LED which are diffusing a much more warm light that white LED, while offering better colour rendering than high pressure sodium lamps which have been lighting our streets for the last three decades. Not only do these new luminaires contain little blue light, they also use little energy, offer excellent service life and are easy to control with motion sensors and dimmers. This new technology demonstrates once again that it is possible to fight light pollution while satisfying outside lighting needs. MMIDSR directors take this opportunity to remind people, industries and municipalities to exercise care before installing white LED luminaires on the Dark Sky Reserve territory, since those are generally prohibited by regulations in effect on the Reserve, except in certain cases and for specific uses like sport grounds or commercial displays. Life needs the dark night. Let us learn to respect it.   Pierre Goulet | Director Mont-Mégantic National Park/ ASTROLab du Mont-Mégantic / Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky...

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White LED lighting – Wait before choosing

»Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Directors of Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve (MMIDSR), which covers Granit and Haut-Saint-François RMC and the City of Sherbrooke, encourage people, contractors and municipalities to exercise caution before installing white LED luminaires. Although these new luminaires offer some benefits, they usually project a very white light which could have negative effects on sky glow and the health of human beings, fauna and flora. Moreover, these white LED luminaires are usually prohibited by regulation in effect within the Dark Sky Reserve, except in certain cases and for specific uses like Christmas decorations and sport grounds. Many partners of International Dark Sky Reserve are presently working to develop technical solutions for eliminating negative impacts of these luminaires and allowing implementation of this new technology on the Reserve territory, while protecting the dark sky, human health and environment. What is more, Dark Sky Reserve directors are also collaborating with various partners towards the elaboration of a new light pollution control regulation which would allow LED luminaire installation in an orderly and thoughtful way. Partners of the International Dark Sky Reserve will soon be presenting findings of their work at a symposium which will take place on December 11 at Alfred DesRochers room in Sherbrooke CÉGEP, under the theme “Problématiques et solutions relatives à l’éclairage aux DEL blanches” (Issues and solutions related to white LED lighting). If you do care about health and environment, Dark sky Reserve directors recommend you to gather all necessary information before undertaking the installation of white LED luminaires even if those are IDA International certified because their certification program has not yet set out guidelines for the use of white LED in nocturnal environments. Nature needs the dark night. Let us learn to respect it.   Bernard Boulet | Coordinator Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve – Corporation de l’ASTROLab, Mont-Mégantic...

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Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve 5th Anniversary!

»Posted by on Sep 21, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Notre-Dame-des-Bois, September 21, 2012 Five years ago, the first International Dark Sky Reserve was created in the Eastern Townships. Officially designated by International Dark Sky Association (IDA), Mont-Mégantic International Dark Sky Reserve (MMIDSR) covers a territory encompassing Granit and Haut-Saint-François RCMs as well as the City of Sherbrooke. It involves 35 municipalities and over 225,000 citizens. Lead by ASTROLab, this world premiere is the result of a concerted regional effort focused on lighting awareness, regulation and conversion. Besides succeeding to give back to the region a pure dark starry sky, creation of the Reserve has brought about in 5 years, about 9,500,000 kWh energy savings, which would be closed to $1,000,000. A Dark Star Reserve is a territory where light pollution must stay low or nonexistent in order for astronomers, citizens and visitors to be able to admire the night sky without the artificial luminous halo that covers today most populated areas. Five years after having granting it for the first time, an International Dark Sky Reserve status was issued three more times: In England (Exmoor National Park – 2011), in Namibia (Rand Nature Reserve – 2012) and in New Zealand (Aoraki National Park and Mackenzie Basin – 2012). A fifth reserve is about to be created at Pic du Midi de Bigorre, in France, with which MMIDSR directors have entered into a strategic partnership this summer. Sustainability to consolidate However, despite the initial success of the reserve, ASTROLab had to relaunch its light pollution abatement project in 2011 in order to block the installation of non-compliant light fixtures, which downgraded the quality of the dark sky and posed a risk to sustainability of the reserve itself. Socio-economic stakeholders had to be remobilized to find practical solutions in order to have the regulation respected and to stop an increase of light pollution on the territory. Only concerted efforts from all partners and involvement of all citizens can ensure the long-term future of this unique collective resource. The recent massive introduction of LED (Light-emitting diode) lighting, with all of its advantages and drawbacks, also represents a new major challenge for light pollution management.  MMIDSR directors are concerned and presently working on finding solutions to improve and support this type of lighting. Light pollution impacts and solutions Light pollution impacts go beyond the sphere of astronomy; energy inefficiency, glare, intrusive light, hormonal disruptions and environmental disturbances are other examples of consequences. Aside from benefits for starry skies, improvement of lighting practices will allow significant energy savings, enhancement of nocturnal environment friendliness and security as well as reduction of light pollution impacts on the health of human beings and ecosystems. Many solutions exist to contribute to this win-win cause. For more information, please visit ASTROLab website: astrolab.qc.ca     Sébastien Giguère | Education supervisor and scientific coordinator Mont-Mégantic National Park and ASTROLab...

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