IDA Seeks Support for Planetarium Show
Attendees of the International Astronomical Union Congress this summer previewed a full-dome video on light pollution called Losing the Dark. The 5-1/2 minute public service announcement shown at the Beijing Planetarium is a joint collaboration between the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) and Loch Ness Productions, a US-based full-dome video production company. Science and technical adviser for the production is Connie Walker, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory’s senior science education specialist and chair of the IDA Education Committee.
According to producer Carolyn Collins Petersen, CEO of Loch Ness Productions, the presentation brings the important facts about light pollution to a wide audience. “Our team designed the show to emphasize some of the most important problems and effects of light pollution,” she said. “Light pollution is ubiquitous; it affects our ability to see the night sky. In addition, it turns out that light pollution has effects on human health, and we’ve known for a long time that it affects plant and animal life. On top of all that, it costs us money and wastes scarce fuel resources.”
The show presents these problems, but also suggests ways for individuals and communities to work together to combat light pollution. “We wanted to keep it very easy for people to help solve the problem,” said Petersen. “So, we suggest that they turn off unneeded lights and use shielded lights, full cutoff-lighting fixtures.”
Scott Kardel, managing director at IDA, said: “We hope that families, school groups, and everyone coming to their local planetarium will see Losing the Dark and realize that it is not too late to save the stars. They can help to restore the night sky outside of the dome to its full glory.”
Production of Losing the Dark is being made possible by a seed grant from the International Planetarium Society, and through ongoing donations to the IDA. “We’re raising funds to bring this show to planetariums around the world,” said Kardel. “In addition, if sufficient funding is raised, we’ll be working with Loch Ness Productions to translate the show into many languages and to create a flat screen HD version for use in classrooms and by educational outreach professionals who want to bring the message of dark skies to their classrooms, science centers and communities.”
To support production of this planetarium show, donate here. Losing the Dark is tentatively scheduled for distribution to the international full-dome and planetarium theater community in autumn 2012.
IDA is the only non-profit working to address light pollution around the world. Among its efforts, the organization provides information brochures, workshops, a model lighting ordinance, manages a night-sky conservation program, and awards the distinguished IDA Fixture Seal of Approval to applicants with lighting fixtures that are dark-sky friendly.