Date: December 17th, 2012

Title: The Dark Skies Crusader Retires! GLOBE at Night Returns!

Podcasters: Connie Walker, Rob Sparks, Chuck Dugan, Carmen Austin, Chris Dunlop and Cameron Capara

Organization: NOAO

Links:,,,,, and

Description:With half of the world’s population now living in cities, many urban dwellers have never experienced the wonderment of pristinely dark skies and maybe never will. This loss, caused by light pollution, is a concern on many fronts: safety, energy conservation, cost, health and effects on wildlife, as well as our ability to view the stars. Even though light pollution is a serious and growing global concern, it is one of the most straightforward environmental problems people can address on local levels. To learn how you can get involved in dark skies preservation and energy conservation, join us for this podcast with the Dark Skies Crusader as he gets roasted at his retirement party by his side kick, the Dark Night, and friends… One dark skies preservation program is the international, citizen-science campaign measuring light pollution levels called GLOBE at Night. Participating in the GLOBE at Night campaign is as easy as 1, 2, 3: look up at the night sky, match what you see toward Orion (or Leo) and report it on-line at Thanks!

Bio: Podcast author, Rob Sparks is a science education specialist in the EPO group at NOAO and works on the Galileoscope project (, providing design, dissemination and professional development. He also pens a great blog at

Podcast co-author, Connie Walker is an associate scientist and senior science education specialist in the Education and Public Outreach (EPO) group at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) in Tucson, Arizona.  She directs the worldwide citizen science campaign on monitoring sky brightness called GLOBE at Night (, which has great Facebook and Twitter pages at, and  In this podcast, she plays Linda Lightman.

Chuck Dugan, who plays the Dark Skies Crusader (aka Peyton Westlake), is a public program specialist for the NOAO Kitt Peak Visitor Center.

Carmen Austin, who plays Donna Dempsey or the Dark Night, is an astronomy major at the University of Arizona. She was and Chris Dunlop and Cameron Capara are some of the Education and Public Outreach students working for the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Chris has recently graduated the U. Arizona with a degree in Engineering Management and plays Mike Dundee. Cameron is a Psychology major also at the U. Arizona and plays Bob Brightman.

Today’s Sponsor: This episode of 365 days of astronomy was sponsored by Clear Skies Observing Guides, a Modern Day Celestial Handbook. ..Clear skies observing guides, or CSOG, is a new concept in visual amateur astronomy. The observing guides contain thousands of objects to observe through amateur telescopes, with matching tours for GOTO telescopes and matching AstroPlanner plan-files. CSOG allows you to target deep-sky objects and carbon stars you never observed before, night after night. Wishing astronomers around the world: Clear skies..!


Sound effects: Party sounds, glasses clinking, low talking.  A loud clinking of glasses and the audience quiets down.

Narrator: It’s a retirement part at Linda Lightman Lighting Limited Liability Corporation.

Linda Lightman: Thank you for joining us here tonight, Everyone. We are gathered here to honor one of our longtime employees who is retiring after 35 years of dedicated service, Peyton Westlake.

Sound effect: applause

Linda: In order to help us wish you well, Peyton, I have asked a few guests here tonight to say a few words about you. First up is your long time office chum, Bob Brightman.

Sound effect: applause

Bob: Thanks, Linda. I have shared an office with Peyton for almost his 30 years. I still remember the first time I walked into the office and the first thing I did was turn on an overhead light and do you remember what you said to me?

Peyton/Dark Skies Crusader: Oh, Bob, yes I do. Stop messing with my melatonin levels!

Sound effect: laughter

Bob: Yes, he was concerned about the effect of excess light on his health. Turns out he was way ahead of his time and I learned a lot from him. He quickly showed me the importance of designing well-shielded and energy efficient lighting fixtures. And of course, we all know about his numerous vacations! The rest of us would come back from vacation and be nice and tanned and rested. He always came back from vacation looking pale, like he only went outside at night!

Sound effect: laughter

Bob: So, here’s to you, Peyton.

Sound effect: applause

Linda: Thank you, Bob. Now I would like to bring up his intern, Donna Dempsey.

Sound effect: applause

Donna: Thank you, Linda. Peyton has been a great influence on me. I first met him back when I was in high school and he opened my eyes to the problems of nighttime lighting.  He started simply by getting me involved in the annual international Earth and Sky Photo Contest. I took some great pictures of dark skies out a

Yellowstone. I hope you will all take pictures and enter them with me in this year’s contest.

Peyton: The next contest will be in April of 2013. You can find details, when they are posted, at

Donna: Pipe down, Peyton. I got this. You’re retired now, remember?

Sound effect: laughter

Donna: But the real thing I remember is GLOBE at Night. He had me driving all over the city taking measurements of the night sky brightness. It was pretty easy. I simply looked at this great website he showed me, I matched up what I saw in the sky with their easy to use charts of Orion and before I knew it, I was contributing data to scientific research!  In honor of Dark, I mean, Peyton’s retirement, I would like you all to join me in taking data for the 2013 campaign. We are going to have FIVE campaigns this year in January through May. They will take place January 3rd – 12th, January 31st – February 9th, March 3rd  – March 12th, March 31st – April 9th and April 29th to May 8th.

Sound effect: Skyping noise

Linda: Oh, I see one of our Australian colleagues has joined us via Skype. Hi, Mick.

Mick: Good-day, Mate! Mick Dundee here. I have a question.

Mick: First, congratulations, Peyton. Donna, what about us blokes down under? Can we participate in GLOBE at Night?

Donna: Of course. For people south of the equator, you can use the constellation of Crux.

Mick: Crux? That’s not no dingo!

Donna: The Southern Cross.

Mick: Oh, of course. That’s easy to find. Thanks, Donna.

Donna: You’re welcome, Mick. So, Peyton, thank you for taking me under your wing and showing me the value of dark skies.

Sound effect: applause

Linda: And now I would like to invite Peyton to say a few words.

Sound effect: applause

Peyton: Thank you, Linda. And I would like to thank you for supporting me all these years. I know a lot of you have helped me out at the office here during my mysterious absences, especially Bob, and, more recently, Donna. And now I feel I can tell you all the truth. You see, I am…

Narrator: Peyton dramatically removes his glasses.


Sound effect: Audience gasps.

Peyton: Yes, it was I who helped save the sea turtles on Anna Maria Island by replacing lights with shielded, efficient bulbs. I helped Jenny get a good night’s sleep by keeping her neighbor’s light from shining in her window. It was I who helped save Ally’s Drive Inn by redesigning her lighting system to be more efficient, saving her lots of money and saving our dark skies at the same time. And all of you have supported my work by covering for me during my mysterious absences as I traveled the world saving our night sky, improving human health, reducing our energy consumption, and saving our precious wildlife.

Sound effect: raucous applause

Linda: That’s great! But who will take over and carry on your fight now that you are retiring?

Petyon:  Yes, Linda, it is true. I am a symbol of our fight for dark skies. I’ve wanted to show the people that they don’t have to lose their night sky. They can have dark skies AND safety. People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy. I couldn’t just do that as just Peyton Westlake. A man is just flesh and blood and can be ignored. But as a symbol…yes, as a symbol, I can be incorruptible, everlasting.

Narrator: Suddenly a caped figure takes the stage with Peyton.

Donna: Don’t worry…I will carry on his legacy.

Sound effect: Crowd gasps.

Donna: I am The Dark Night!

Mick: Oh, krigee!

Bob: Isn’t that Batman?

Donna (annoyed): No! I am the Dark Night: N-I-G-H-T! Geesh! Why couldn’t you have given me a less confusing name, Peyton? …In honor of his retirement, I challenge all of you to adopt a street in your community during the GLOBE at Night campaign. Details on how to set up an “Adopt-a-Street” program for your community are online at You simply drive down the road taking a data point once every mile. Your friends and neighbors can adopt other streets and before you know it, you will have data all over your city that can be used by your local officials to improve your city’s lighting! Let’s hear it one more time for the Dark Skies Crusader!

Sound effect: Hip-hip Hoorah!

Linda: Hey, does anyone know where Donna went?

Narrator: As the Dark Skies Crusader passes the torch to his prodigy, we invited you to join us in defending dark skies for future generations. Go to for more information.

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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