Podcasters: Carmen Austin, Lindsay Small, Becca Levy, Rob Sparks, Calvin Ortega Jr., Chuck Dugan, and Will Roddy

Title: Phasing into a Dark Night

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 as the Dark Night teams up with Candesce to combat Lighting Evil Doer and her new sidekick, Tungstman!

This podcast is dedicated to Chuck Dugan, our Dark Skies Crusader, who is leaving NOAO to take on other super villains! We wish him the best of luck in all he does.


Bio: Becca Levy, the author of this podcast and the voice of Candesce, is currently a junior at the University of Arizona, double majoring in Astronomy and Physics with a minor in French. She also works as a special projects assistant in the Education and Public Outreach Department at NOAO.

Zach Watson, who contributed to this podcast, is a sophomore at the University of Arizona studying Physics and Astronomy.

Carmen Austin, playing the part of Donna/ The Dark Night is an undergraduate student in General Studies at the University of Arizona. She also works as a public observing program guide at Kitt Peak National Observatory, as well as an instructional specialist at the UA Steward Observatory.

Lindsay Small plays the role of Lighting Evil Doer. She is a special projects assistant at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and a junior at the University of Arizona studying engineering management and minoring in astronomy.

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

Chuck Dugan, who plays the Peyton Westlake (AKA the Dark Skies Crusader), graduated from the University of Arizona in 1979, and has worked with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory for 11 years. As a Program Specialist at NOAO, Chuck develops and presents public and educational programs for the Education & Public Outreach department and for the Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center.

Calvin Ortega, Jr. is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation from Southern Arizona. I graduated from Baboquivari High School in 2010, and have been pursuing a degree in Physics. As the oldest of 7 children, I intend on leaving an impression for my siblings to follow, as well as any other young Native Americans who have an interest in higher education.

Will Roddy is a Lead Special Projects Assistant for the Education and Public Outreach department at NOAO. He is an undergraduate at the University of Arizona studying Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, Science Education (Biology Concentration), and Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Sponsors: This episode of “365 Days of Astronomy” is brought to you by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory on behalf of Globe at Night. NOAO is the national center for ground-based nighttime astronomy in the United States and is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Globe at Night has been using crowd-sourced observations to track the spread of light pollution since 2006. This year, the project is expanding so that you can collect data every month of the year. If you can find Orion or another one of the bright constellations being used in the program, you can add your data to this ever growing citizen-science effort. For more information, go to

Narrator: Previously [pause], in our epic battle between light and dark:
replaying previous lines
Donna: I don’t know how Peyton did all this by himself! … there is just too much for me to do!
L.E.D.: maniacal laughter My time has finally come! The Dark Skies Crusader is gone and his Dark Night is too busy to stop me. … And now that their homes are brighter, they won’t be able to see the stars, thus eliminating that horrendous Globe at Night program!
Donna: In the past three months, we’ve received more submissions than we did up until this time last year!
L.E.D.: WHAT?! Candesce, how is this possible?! … THE DARK SKIES CRUSADER?! IT CAN’T BE! But but but you’re supposed to be… you’re a hermit… you’re RETIRED!
DSC: Clearly, you have underestimated my apprentice, the Dark Night.

L.E.D.: They thought they had defeated me. The dynamic duo may have won the battle, but they haven’t won the war, right Candesce?! … Candesce? … Candesce, where are you?!

Narrator: Back in the present, at Linda Lightman Lighting Limited Liability Corporation:

Knock on door

Donna: Come in!

Candesce: H-hi, Donna…

Donna: alarmed Candesce? What are you doing here? If you think you can just-

Candesce: No, no I’m not here because of Lighting Evil Doer, quite the opposite actually. You see, I really like Globe at Night and dark skies. I don’t understand why Lighting Evil Doer is so against them. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’d like to join the dark side, your side.

Donna: Wow Candesce, this is great news! You know, I need some help writing this proposal to city councils to have lighting laws put in place. Could you take a look at it?

Candesce: Sure!!

Narrator: Back at Lighting Evil Doer’s lair:

L.E.D.: Where is that darn Candesce? Phone notification noise Oh look, she texted me! Reading “Hi. I’ve decided to join the Dark Night. Hope you’re not mad. :)” WHAT?!?! Candesce, how could you burn me like that?! I knew I should have phased her out sooner!! What am I going to do? I can’t take on the Dark Skies Crusader, the Dark Night, and now Candesce on my own!

Narrator: As Lighting Evil Doer is left in the dark, Candesce is shining in her new role.

Donna: You know, Candesce, now that you’re working for us, I think you need a new name. Out with the old, in with the new.

Candesce: I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve been working really hard on those lighting law proposals lately. What about “Candesce for Lighting Laws”?

Donna: Well… uhh… it’s a little long…

Candesce: Uhh ok, what if I abbreviated it? What about CFL?

Donna: I like it! It’s always good to update to something more efficient!

Narrator: Back at Lighting Evil Doer’s lair…

Phone rings

L.E.D.: Hello? Oh hi, Tungstman! … I’d love to grab a light lunch with you! … Tomorrow? … Noon? … at O’Brighton’s? … Great! See you then!

Narrator: The next day…

L.E.D.: Hi Tungstman! It’s been years since I’ve seen you!

Tungstman: Hi! I know! And yet you’ve really come into your own over the past few years. I’ve got to tell you though, I feel really phased out, replaced almost. When I heard about Candesce, or should I say CFL, I knew you would need help combatting The Dark Night. That’s why I called you.

L.E.D.: I do need your help!

Tungstman: Yes, and I have a plan already. Listen, efficient lighting is great and all, but it’s so expensive! I mean, why spend all that money replacing incandescent bulbs with more expensive CFLs or LEDs? Clearly this whole thing is a ploy by lighting companies for their customers to pay more money!

L.E.D.: Tungstman, you’re brilliant! My flyers worked well last time. I’ll write something up, and get it out tomorrow!

Narrator: The next day, at Linda Lightman Lighting Limited Liability Corporation…

Donna: Peyton, it was so good of you to stop by! Everyone here misses you so much! What have you been u-

Candesce: rushing in, interrupting Donna, alarmed DONNA!! Oh… Oh sorry I didn’t realize you were in a meeting.

Donna: It’s ok CFL. You know Peyton, The Dark Skies Crusader.

Candesce: alarmed Yes, hi! Actually, it’s good that you’re both here! Look what was in the mailbox this morning!

Donna: reading “Dear Citizen, Why waste money replacing your old bulbs with more expensive new ones? Incandescent bulbs are the original light bulb and work as well as ever. This new wave of ‘efficiency standards’ is clearly a ploy by companies like Linda Lightman Lighting Limited Liability Corporation to coerce you to spend more money on their products.” WHAT?!

Peyton: Clearly this is the work of Lighting Evil Doer again. But why the incandescent kick all of a sudden?

Candesce: I know why. I ran into a former-friend the other day. I haven’t seen him in years. He asked how Lighting Evil Doer and I were doing, and I told him about my new role here. He was shocked, but left with a weirdly happy smile on his face. I think he took my place as Light Evil Doer’s sidekick.

Donna: Well who is this guy?

Candesce: Tungstman.

Peyton: Ohhhhh nooooo. I should have guessed.

Donna: But why did he look happy when he left?

Peyton: Because he’s been waiting for an opportunity like this for years. You see, as incandescent bulbs are being phased out, his whole premise is collapsing. He’ll do anything to regain lighting supremacy. I think we’ll see that in no time at all, Lighting Evil Doer will be his sidekick.

Narrator: A few days later…

L.E.D.: Tungstman, I have a great idea for reaching more people! What if we-

Tungstman: Not now. I’ve already put my next plan in to action.

L.E.D.: Your next plan? I thought you were helping me!

Tungstman: Yeah that wasn’t really working for me. I’ve decided that I’m going to be calling the shots from now on.

L.E.D.: Tungstman, ever since you’ve arrived, you’ve created a whole spectrum of problems!

Narrator: That evening, on the 6 o’clock news.

Newscaster: Recently, flyers went out to people across the city encouraging them to buy incandescent. We have The Dark Night with us tonight to comment.

Donna: Thank you. While it may be true that incandescent bulbs are cheaper to buy initially, over their lifetime, they use more electricity than the newer energy efficient bulbs. Additionally, they burn out much faster than other bulbs, so you’ll have to replace them more frequently, adding to your expense. On January 1st of this year, 40- and 60- watt incandescent bulbs are no longer being manufactured in the United States, because these bulbs do not meet federal energy efficiency standards. Other bulbs, like CFLs and LEDs are not being phased out because they already meet these standards. Therefore, we at Linda Lightman Lighting Limited Liability Corporation encourage you to save money by switching to energy efficient bulbs to light your homes responsibly.

Tungstman: No… no… this can’t be happening.

L.E.D.: Oh Tungstman…

Narrator: And just like that, in a flash, Tungstman’s filament had burned out and his time had come to an end.

Peyton: Donna, I’m very proud of you. I knew you could tackle those two on your own! And now that you have CFL, you can take on whatever comes your way. That’s why I’m leaving again.

Donna: Well you are retired, Peyton.

Peyton: Actually Donna, I’ve found a new calling. You see, I’m leaving for Africa to do dark skies outreach there. It’s my newest mission: actually preventing bad lighting before it happens. But in all honesty, it’s going to take a lot to drag me away from you here. But you can do more than a hundred men could ever do. I have to go before they miss the stars down in Africa. I have to take some time to do the things I never had time to do.

Donna: Wow, Peyton, that’s terrific! We sure will miss you here, though.

Peyton: I know Donna. But I believe in you. The Dark Night is no longer an apprentice. You are, in fact, the Dark Skies Crusader!

L.E.D.: I’ll get you, Dark Skies Crusader! And your little dog Toto too! Maniacal laughter

Narrator: Tune in mid-May to hear the continued saga of the epic battle between The Dark Night and Lighting Evil Doer.

What can YOU do to help minimize the effects of in light pollution in your area? Participate in the international Globe at Night campaign March 21-30. Visit for more information.

And on March 29, you can participate in Earth Hour and shut off lights at your house between 8:30 and 9:30pm local time. See

Also, Global Astronomy Month is a celebration of astronomy and stargazing the whole month of April. Their website has more Dark Skies Awareness projects like a photo contest and dark-sky week. Visit

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
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