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In Defense of Darkness

Several contributors are working to preserve dark skies. We thank them for their vision.


Toyota TAPESTRY Grant Launches Program

logo -TAPESTRY grantToyota USA has launched the Let There Be Night program by awarding a 2008 TAPESTRY grant. The grant will support development and implementation of both the planetarium program and the community experiment to measure sky glow across the PHM school district. In promoting the Toyota Sequoia, an extended Star Party commercial shows families gathering to enjoy a night of stargazing. Note that the starfield in the commercial matches the targeted starfield in the Let There Be Night program.

Jordan Toyota Drives Community Forward

Jordan logoLTBN banner at NorthpointJordan Toyota in Mishawaka, IN, is taking a corporarte lead to support science education in its community. The combined involvement of families, schools, and businesses was identified as a key element for the future of local education at the "Next Step" forum in April 2008. Jordan Toyota supported the development of the planetarium program, funded duplication of the DVD set, and is also working with the Let There Be Night team to have students propose practical solutions to local outdoor lighting issues. The LTBN banners at 14 PHM schools are courtesy of Jordan Toyota.

Guidance From Atop Kitt Peak

logo-NOAOThe National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), has a leading role in guiding the Let There Be Night program. They are contributing professional resources to the PHM-wide experiment to quantify sky glow through the Globe at Night program, as well as financial support to duplicate the Let There Be Night DVD across the US and internationally. The NOAO is a premier national observatory atop Kitt Peak in Tucson, AZ. The astronomy education staff there are leading Dark Skies Awareness, one of the global IYA2009 Cornerstone Projects. Additionally, the NOAO is the coordinator for the US Dark Skies Working Group as it addresses the US 2009IYA theme "Dark Skies are a Universal Resource."

Educational Foundation Steps Up for Community

PHM Educational Foundation logoThe PHM Educational Foundation awarded a generous grant to support students conducting the Let There Be Night community-wide experiment. The award enables 13 schools to purchase relevant books, Sky Quality Meters, and district wall maps for plotting the results of the March 2009 sky survey. Thank you, PHMEF.

Great Lakes Planetarium Association to Magnify the Impact

logo-GLPAThe Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) is financially supporting production of the Let There Be Night planetarium program. Additionally, GLPA will distribute the Let There Be Night DVD to all of its members, to seven US regional planetarium societies, to the International Planetarium Society, and to individuals on a cost-only basis. GLPA is a professional organization dedicated to supporting astronomy and space science education through planetariums. GLPA members come from over 30 states, and at least 4 countries.

Interstellar Studios Brings an Island to the Party

Interstellar Studios logoWhile leading the development of 400 Years of the Telescope, Interstellar Studios of Chico, CA, is bouying International Year of Astronomy new media programs with its donation of a Second Life island. Let There Be Night will use a portion of that island to build a virtual environment at which visitors can alter the outdoor lighting of multiple scenes to see the impact of their actions. Backdrops from Second Life will be featured in video segments of the Let There Be Night planetarium program.

Laser Cuts to the Heart of the Legend

AVI logoOrion is the featured constellation that students will target in March 2009 during the Globe at Night star count. The star pattern is as much about the lore as it is about the connected dots. In preparation for Let There Be Night, PHM is presenting Audio Visual Imagineering's laser show Legends of the Night Sky...Orion. Thanks go to AVI for sharing their educational yet entertaining laser program with the PHM Planetarium at a reduced cost.

A Story of Balance

logo-lpiLong ago, darkness was all there ever was. Some of the animals of the night sought to bring light into the world. While Ant advocated for day, Bear insisted on keeping it night. The only fair way to resolve the dilemma was through a dance contest. Narrated by Dovie Thomason, the story of Day & Night from the Pacific Northwest Nations helps us pay attention to the balance between the diurnal and the nocturnal realms. The Lunar and Planetary Institiute is generously sharing the recording from their SkyTellers program for the benefit of the Let There Be Night audience. The story's introduction is by acclaimed storyteller and IPS member Lynn Moroney.

Southeastern Planetarium Association is Saving the Night

SEPA logoThe Southeastern Planetarium Association (SEPA) is generously sharing its Saving the Night planetarium show with Let There Be Night. Written and narrated by reknowned astronomer/author David Levy, the show promotes proper lighting techniques and educates the general public on the topic of light pollution. SEPA has granted permission to reproduce Saving the Night for inclusion on the Let There Be Night DVD and will distribute the program to all of its members.

Stars Above, Earth Below, and Tyler Nordgren In Between

Star trails over Chaco CanyonAfter twelve months touring twelve US National Parks, Tyler Nordgren has compiled stunning images of his night life. The collection of Nordgren's photography reinforces the grandeur of the parks, as he connects people to the firmament. We are grateful that Nordgren is sharing his photographs, words, and ideas on the Let There Be Night DVD.

Johannes Kepler reenactmentThe View from the Shoulders of Giants

The Johannes Kepler Project and The Chromatics have teamed up to produce a new song celebrating the 400th anniversary of Galileo's profound discoveries. As advocates for dark skies, these two parties are permitting the latest Chromatics song "On the Shoulders of Giants" to be included on the LTBN DVD. They've got us singing their tune.

Penn-Harris-Madison Schools Take Lead Role

PHM Planetarium logoThe Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation (PHM) has taken a lead role in creating a positive Let There Be Night experience, whether in the planetarium, in the classroom, or under the night sky. Administrators, faculty, and students will meet the challenge to assess sky glow across 100 square miles. The PHM Planetarium & Air/Space Museum is committed to developing Let There Be Night for distribution to multiple users and the community network.

Website Support Eases Task

Patrick Rumley has continuously aided astronomy education with his guidance, encouragement and generous hosting of websites, including Let There Be Night, Nightwise, and Transit of Venus. Rumley's unwavering support has been a generator for online content that would have remained dormant and unshared had he not been so accommodating. The design for this website is provided as a free template courtesy of Andreas Viklund.

Starball Sings Into Dreams

In This Light, a song performed by John Kaufmann and Dan Dennis on the Let There Be Night feature presentation, is excerped from the Starball production. The Starball team was quick to offer its talent at the 2008 International Planetarium Society (IPS) Biennial Conference. After you hear their song here, track down a Starball performance in your neighborhood, or you can book them for your own local event.

Bandazian Rocks

The band Bandazian out of Asheville, NC, gives Galileo closing words on the Let There Be Night feature presentation. The song Lucifer's Bait notes, "I ain't afraid of getting old. It's just the thought of losing touch that really scares me. And I've never shied away from all the difficult questions. I'm a rational guy." We'd fade to black, but there's too much light to do so.

DuRall and McMahon Show Dark Matters

Danl DuRall, a new media specialist from South Bend, IN, is kindly donating personal time and talent to produce artwork and video for the Let There Be Night DVD. The Dark Matters presentation, written by dark skies advocate John McMahon of Syracuse, NY, is a tutorial prioritized by the US IYA Dark Skies Working Group. The introductory video is bundled onto the DVD Disc #1 for individuals who are presenting outdoor lighting issues to community groups, elected officials, and others who are new to the topic.

Earth Hour PosterLisa Keyte Designs Artwork

Lisa Keyte has designed supporting material, including posters for the community to show its pride in participating in Earth Hour.

A Positive Perpetual Twilight

The Illinois Coalition for Responsible Outdoor Lighting has one good reason to tout Perpetual Twilight--namely, their PowerPoint show by the same name. Citing waste, where it comes from, and giving examples, they go on to provide answers. See the Let There Be Night DVD for the show.

SciTechAntiques Walks the Walk for Science

Galileo telescope Jim and Rhoda Morris of SciTechAntiques are strong advocates of basic science research, and they have put their talents to work to back up their assertions. To understand the intricacies of Galileo's original telescopes, follow their trail as they construct accurate, museum-quality replicas. In support of science education, the Morrises have allowed Let There Be Night to base its narrator's telescope, for a Second Life avatar, on their finely crafted model.

WISE Moves to Motivate

Visible and infrared images of OrionThe Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission "will map the sky in infrared light, searching for the nearest and coolest starts, the origins of stelllar and planetary systems, and the most luminous galaxies in the Universe." In support of its mission, the WISE team is motivating PHM participants by providing a limited supply of lenticular postcards--way cool!--that show "the constellation Orion viewed in visible and infrared light. In the infrared image from NASA’s IRAS mission we can see clouds of dust and gas invisible to the human eye. The bright spots are the locations where stars are being born. WISE will observe the same region but with far greater resolution and sensitivity."

AstroCamp to Evaluate Content

AstroCamp logoAstroCamp at YMCA Camp Eberhart in Three Rivers, MI, is availing its resources to the Let There Be Night team to evaluate components of the program. AstroCamp is a week-long astronomy camp for children in which they get hands-on experience finding deep sky objects with telescopes at night. By day they learn about astronomy topics that interest them while experiencing the special joys of a lakeside summer camp.

DePaul University Supports Web Site and Night Vision

hands shielding lightSmall ideas received big support from DePaul University in Chicago, allowing simple activities to grow into featured components of Let There Be Night. Two demonstrations that show the value of shielding outdoor lights and one activity that complements the Globe at Night experiment are from the Paper Plate Education website, which is hosted by DePaul. Having embraced the website in its former role as a Space Science Center for Education and Outreach, which was then funded by NASA, DePaul continues to support Paper Plate Education. A PLATO grant from DePaul also supported the Night Vision program, which was a critical precursor to Let There Be Night.

Be The One

I equals M E squaredWe thank dark sky advocates who have shared their insight, enthusiasm, and time to this effort. As a community response to a global issue, Let There Be Night encourages and values the power of the individual. Without inquiry, much is at risk. Your ideas, energy, and leadership will power the future. Be the one to let there be night.

Bob Hayden presents gift

Bob Hayden (left) presents a donation from Jordan Toyota to PHM Superintendent Jerry Thacker at the November 9, 2008, world premiere of Let There Be Night.