Podcasters: Carmen Austin, Becca Levy, Hayley Keith
Description: We once again follow our heroes, Donna the Dark Night, and her loyal sidekick Candesce, as they fight to decrease the light pollution in their city. Now, the Dark Night Crusaders aren’t helping promote dark skies in just Glowtham, they’re taking the dark skies and Globe at Night campaign international! Their first stop? Paris, France. Not only is it the City of Light, but it’s also the location for the International Year of Light 2015 opening ceremony.
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 www.globeatnight.org.
Bio: 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.
Becca Levy, the voice of Candesce and person at booth, is a senior at the University of Arizona, double majoring in Astronomy and Physics with a minor in French. She works as lead special projects assistant in the Education and Public Outreach Department at NOAO.
Hayley Keith, the author of this podcast and the voice of the narrator and person in the crowd 1 and 2, is a junior at the University of Arizona and a Science Education: Earth Science Emphasis major. She also works as a special projects assistant in the Education and Public Outreach Department at NOAO.
Donna (The Dark Night): Carmen Austin
Candesce: Becca Levy
Narrator: Hayley Keith
Person at Booth: Becca Levy
Person in Crowd 1: Hayley Keith
Person in Crowd 2: Hayley Keith
Narrator: Last time on the Dark Night Crusaders, Donna the Dark Night and her faithful sidekick Candesce stopped Lighting Evil Doer from thwarting the installation of the Narrow Band Amber LED light in Glowtham. Not only was the LED successfully put up on Glowtham’s City Hall, but Lighting Evil Doer finally saw the light and was converted to the good side, becoming Amber LED. She now is in Africa, helping Peyton Westlake, formerly the Dark Skies Crusader, spread the word about light pollution and Globe at Night. Now that Glowtham is safe from Lighting Evil Doer, Donna and Candesce have had some free time. That is, until they get a call while in their headquarters at Linda Lightman Lighting Limited Liability Corporation.
Candesce: Now that Lighting Evil Doer is on the good side, things sure have been quiet around here.
Donna: Yeah, no one seems to be having any issues with light pollution. And everyone in Glowtham already knows about Globe at Night and its next campaign.
Candesce: (phone rings) Hello? Yes, this is the Dark Night Crusaders. Aha. Aha. The International Year of Light? Aha. Aha. In Paris, France you say? We’re on it!
Candesce: Guess what Donna? That was Linda Lightman on the phone!
Donna: Linda Lightman? You mean the Linda Lightman of Linda Lightman Lighting Limited Liability Corporation?
Candesce: Yep, the one and only!
Donna: What did she say?
Candesce: She wanted to tell us about the International Year of Light!
Donna: What’s that?
Candesce: The International Year of Light, which is taking place this year, is a year that focuses on the science of light, lighting technology, and its applications. It’s going to help raise global awareness about light-based technologies while providing solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture, and health.
Donna: Do they also focus on the issues of light pollution?
Candesce: Yes, that’s why she called. She wanted us to come to the opening ceremony to help spread the word about Globe at Night.
Donna: Where’s the opening ceremony?
Candesce: In Paris, France, the City of Light!
Donna: Well, if Linda Lightman herself asked us to be there, we better go!
Narrator: That evening, our heroes are excited as they pack for Paris.
Candesce: I’m so glad we’re finally doing this. Going out, seeing the world, and spreading the word about Globe at Night and dark skies outside of Glowtham.
Donna: I’m glad we’re doing this too! We’ve been so busy protecting Glowtham from Lighting Evil Doer that we’ve forgotten the importance of educating the public about light pollution and the importance of taking a vacation!
Candesce: I can’t wait to get to Paris. I’ve always wanted to see the City of Lights!
Donna: Let’s just hope it’s a city of responsible lights!
Candesce: (packing her suitcase) Luxmeter, check. Sky quality meter, check. Globe at Night postcards, check. LED flashlight, check….
Narrator: The duo kept packing and the next morning, with much anticipation and excitement, caught their plane to Paris, France. After a long flight, they finally made it to the International Year of Light opening ceremony.
Candesce: We’re finally here! What booth should we go to first?
Donna: Well, one of the themes for IYL is called Cosmic Light, which was created to provide the public opportunities to discover breakthroughs in astronomy, stunning images of the cosmos, and more on dark skies awareness.
Candesce: Well, the theme of dark skies awareness seems right up our alley.
Donna: Yep, it says in this brochure that educational projects include the Light Beyond the Bulb exhibit, the Galileoscope and the Quality Lighting Teaching kit. All are on display at the Cosmic Light booth.
Candesce: What’s the Quality Lighting Teaching kit?
Donna: The QLT kits help to increase public and student awareness of light pollution and quality lighting issues, through exploration of the challenges relevant to people’s lives and the discovery of how simply the challenges are solved.
Candesce: That sounds really cool! Let’s go check those kits out.
Narrator: Donna and Candesce went over to the Quality Light Teaching kits booth. Set up at the booth was a light shielding demonstration where students could see how different streetlights affected different settings and contributed to light pollution. They were able to see how the streetlights could best be shielded so that the most light went down where it was needed instead of into the sky.
Candesce: That was a lot of fun! We should definitely get a QLT kit for the students of Glowtham.
Donna: Most definitely. Where should we go now?
Candesce: The Galileoscope booth sure caught my eye. Let’s head over there.
Donna: What is a Galileoscope exactly?
Candesce: From what I’ve heard, the Galileoscope is a low-cost, high optical quality telescope that students build themselves. While students build the scopes, they are able to see how a telescope works and the principles of optics that a telescope uses.
Donna: Yeah, let’s go to that booth!
Narrator: Donna and Candesce got to see how a refracting telescope is made and the optics behind it.
Donna: I’ve always loved telescopes, but I appreciate them so much more now that I know exactly how one is made. We also need Galileoscopes for the students of Glowtham. I think they’d have a lot of fun making them.
Candesce: I agree. Look, there’s a whole section on Dark Skies Awareness! Let’s go take a look over there.
Narrator: As Candesce and Donna browsed through the dark skies exhibits, they realized just how much the International Year of Light also had to do with responsible lighting.
Donna: The International Year of Light? Maybe it should be called the International Year of Dark in support of darker skies!
Candesce: That’s the cool thing about the International Year of Light though; it shows the importance of lighting in our lives but still emphasizes how we can be responsible about that lighting.
Narrator: At that moment, a booth caught their eyes.
Person at booth: Welcome everybody! The International Dark-Sky Association has a great theme for January and February during the International Year of Light: light pollution’s effect on health. You see, light pollution not only is bad for dark skies, it’s not really good for us either.
Person in crowd 1: How can light be bad for you though? People have been using it for hundreds of years. It seems pretty safe to me!
Person at booth: Actually, studies have shown that too much exposure to light can disrupt your circadian rhythm and affect your melatonin levels. One type of light to look out for are blue LED lights. Even though they are high in efficiency, the harsh blue color can be harmful to your health.
Person in crowd 1: How can a blue light be bad? It’s just a color??
Narrator: Because the crowd was getting a little out of hand, Donna thought it best if she intervened.
Donna: It’s true, blue LEDs are bad for health. That is why in our city of Glowtham, we put up a Narrow Band Amber LED. The amber color has a lower energy than the blue, making it better for your health. Plus, they’re a lot easier to look at.
Person at booth: Ladies and Gentleman, that’s the Dark Night!!
(murmurs and ooos and ahhs in the crowd)
Person in crowd 2: I guess we can trust this health stuff if it’s coming directly from the Dark Night. She’s my hero!
Candesce: If anyone has anymore questions about light’s effect on health or wants to help take dark skies measurements with us and see just how bright the night skies are in the City of Light, please visit us at our Globe at Night booth.
Person in crowd 2: I want an autograph!!! And a Globe at Night postcard! (gasps) Can you autograph my postcard?!
Narrator: Donna and Candesce spent the rest of the day spreading the word about Globe at Night and exploring the IYL opening ceremony more. They had a great time. Now that the International Year of Light opening ceremony is over, where will Donna and Candesce go next on their international tour to spread the word about light pollution, dark skies, and Globe at Night? Tune in next time to find out! Your next chances to help our heroes are our upcoming Globe at Night campaigns: February 9-18 and March 11-20. And don’t forget we are asking people worldwide to make observations on March 14, which is a very special day: ultra super pi day! At 9:26, it will be 3.1415926… Visit our website, www.globeatnight.org for more information about all of these projects!
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by NUCLIO. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. This year we celebrate cosmic light as light is our info messenger in the universe. Join us and share your story to celebrate the International Year of Light. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!