Press Release

National Dark Sky Week Celebration

By SpaceRef Editor
April 19, 2004
Filed under , ,

National Dark Sky Week is scheduled from April 19th to April 26th, 2004.
This event was founded by Jennifer Barlow, a high school student in
Virginia, for the purpose of temporarily reducing light pollution while
raising awareness about light pollution’s effects on the night sky,
encouraging better lighting, and promoting an interest in astronomy.

This upcoming National Dark Sky Week (NDSW) will be the second year for the
event, after it originally began as a single night in 2002. This year,
Jennifer Barlow hopes it will be bigger and better than the last. “It is so
important that National Dark Sky Week gains more and more support each year
to ensure its success because the only way to reduce light pollution is if
everyone participates,” says Barlow. NDSW for 2003 provided a strong
foundation for future success of the event. Jennifer Barlow worked with the
Astronomical League, American Astronomical Society and the International
Dark-Sky Association, all of which endorsed NDSW in January of 2003. With
the help and support of these organizations, there was more awareness about
the event and a great deal of participation.

The most important way one can participate is to turn out unnecessary
lighting, but it is also crucial that everyone spreads the word about NDSW
to gain more participation. NDSW is the perfect opportunity to host a star
party, visit an observatory, get the telescope out of the attic, learn more
about the universe, and simply reconnect with the night sky. Again, the
issue of safety is stressed. “Please do not turn out lights that are needed
for safety purposes. Be sure to select a dark area that is safe when
stargazing and go with a group of people. It is helpful to carry a
red-tinted flashlight because you will still see where you are walking, but
your eyes will remain adjusted to the dark,” Barlow emphasizes.

Jennifer Barlow explains that her most important goal in National Dark Sky
Week is “that we once again may be able to see the wonder of the universe
that has been a treasured part of history as long as humans have existed on
this Earth, and that we do not allow such beauty to fade behind a blanket of
light pollution.”

Robert Gent, the President of the Astronomical League, a federation of 300
astronomical societies, says, “This is an excellent way to celebrate the
beauty of our night skies.” He further stated, “It is so refreshing to see
someone like Jennifer who is willing to take action to promote the beauty of
our night skies, an important part of human heritage.”

For more information, visit the NDSW homepage at


International Dark-Sky Association

3225 N. First Ave., Tucson AZ 85719 USA


Bob Gent, IDA Public Relations Officer

President, The Astronomical League


Geoff Chester, IDA Washington, D.C., liaison officer

U.S. Naval Observatory

3450 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20392



National Dark-Sky Week Foundation

Jennifer Barlow

804-897-4489 (press inquiries only).

SpaceRef staff editor.