Human health, astronomy, and environmental concerns merge at Dark-Sky meeting

March 01, 2004

Physicians, engineers, national park staff, astronomers, government officials, and many others will gather at the 16th Annual International Dark-Sky Association Meeting in Tucson, Ariz., March 10-13, to discuss their shared interest in the night-time environment and its affect on human activity.

Dan Duriscoe, National Park Service, will speak about the work of the Night Sky Team to evaluate and protect the dark skies of the national park system. "We stand on the verge of losing our view of the universe from our national parks," he says, "yet, unlike losing a species to extinction, topsoil to erosion, or virgin lands to development, the night sky is 100% recoverable."

Antarctica has months-long days and nights and two presenters will talk about their experiences on the frozen continent. Arlo Landolt was in the first group to winter over at the South Pole, many years ago, and will tell about the "First Winter in Antarctica." Comet astronomer David Levy was in Antarctica last summer for the total solar eclipse, and describes "Last Summer in Antarctica."

David E. Blask, MD, of the Bassett Research Institute in New York, will talk about his work on the effects on light exposure and resulting melatonin levels on the growth of human breast cancer cells.

Observatory directors from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres will talk about dark skies for research. Using beautiful images from the southern skies, Malcolm Smith, Cerro Tololo Observatory, will present "Dark Skies: Big Telescopes and Little Children." Richard Green, Director, Kitt Peak National Observatory, will explain "The Need for Dark Skies for Astronomy."

Still more striking astronomical images will be shown by astronomer David Malin and amateur astronomer Jack Newton.

Terry McGowan, Executive Director of the Lighting Research Office, will give an overview of "Understanding Outdoor Lighting."

Speakers will address many more dark sky topics such as night vision, protection of observatory environments, outdoor lighting codes, lighting fixtures and energy savings.

More detailed information about the meeting, the meeting program, graphics, and the meeting registration form can be found on our website at

Members of the working press (representing bona fide news media) and freelance science writers will be admitted upon presenting their credentials at the meeting registration desks. (Credentials include: a press card, business card, or letter of introduction from an editor of the publication, a current membership card from NASW, a regional affiliate of NASW, CSWA, SEJ, or ISWA, or evidence of bylined work pertaining to science intended for the general public and published in 2002--2004.)

Meeting: March 10-13, 2004.
Marriott Hotel University Park, 880 E Second Street, Tucson, AZ 85719
Phone: (520) 792-4100
Toll Free: 1- 800-228-9290 USA & Canada
Fax: (520) 882-4100
Web Site: Marriott Hotel University Park

Press Contacts:

Bob Gent, IDA
(520) 293-3198

Dan Brocious, IDA
(520) 670-5706

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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