“Celebrate the Night Skies” week spreads awareness of light pollution

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On a clear night like tonight, many enjoy stargazing. Light pollution can make this more difficult, but one local group hopes to spread awareness on the issue.  

To showcase the beautiful night skies of the area and teach the public about light pollution, the local chapter of the International Dark Sky Association, Starry Skies North,  is hosting events for “Celebrate the Night Skies” week. 

“I come to the dark sky and starry skies from a little bit of a different angle. I’m not specifically an astronomer, but I’m someone that really enjoys thinking about how humans interact with spaces and how we live in spaces,” said member Andrew Papke-Larson. “I’m a landscape architect by trade, so I love thinking about how we interact with the environment and what makes us feel comfortable in it.”

The week began with an online webinar hosted by award winning night photographer Dr. Mike Shaw. Shaw showed stunning images of the night sky while teaching families about how stray light affects our view. 

“When you look up at the night sky here in Duluth, depending on where you are, you might not be able to see the Milky Way, which is just kind of an unfortunate picture of our current situation,” said Papke-Larson. “But it’s also something that we can change, and we can change it pretty easily. Sometimes it’s as easy as just flipping a switch.”

Celebrate the night skies week continues on Wednesday at 6 pm with Night Sky Trivia at Ursa Minor Brewing. Amity Coffee House will host Space Trivia on Thursday night. There will also be a free planetarium show on Friday at UMD followed by stargazing. 

Saturday’s events include a daytime informational display at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory and an evening full of special presentations at Fitger’s Spirit of the North Theater. Participants will have the opportunity to stargaze afterwards.

The full event details can be found at this link

All events of “Celebrate the Night Skies” week are free, but the stargazing is weather-dependent. Rain is likely both Friday and Saturday.