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Western Slope Skies - Dark Skies in Colorado

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Bettymaya Foott

Can you see the Milky Way from where you live? If so, you are lucky, because most people can’t. Over 80% of people living in the United States cannot see the Milky Way from where they live because of too much artificial light at night.

Light pollution is any artificial light that is wasted or unneeded, or that causes any adverse effect or impact. And it’s becoming a major problem.

  • Artificial light at night is increasing worldwide at twice the rate of global population growth 
  • At least three billion dollars is wasted on outdoor lighting each year in the United States
  • And virtually every species of life studied has been harmed by light pollution

Since 1988, the International Dark-Sky Association has led a movement to protect the night from too much artificial light. Our Vision is that the night sky, filled with stars, is celebrated and protected around the world as a shared heritage benefiting all living things. Because when done responsibly, lighting can be beautiful, healthy, safe, and functional while also protecting our dark skies and our view of the universe.

The world-renowned and award-winning International Dark Sky Places Certification Program is the Gold Standard in dark sky protection. Colorado is currently home to 15 Certified International Dark Sky Places, many located in the southwest part of the state, so you have plenty of opportunity to get out and see the stars. When we preserve the area’s nighttime environment with an International Dark Sky Association lighting plan, we can protect our view of the Milky Way and experience the wonder and awe of accessing the starry realms

Not only that, but responsible dark sky lighting can also improve our quality of life.

  • There are numerous and well-documented public health benefits to dark skies.
  • It’s good for you, your neighbors, and the environment
  • Not only that, but we also save significant money and energy by reducing unwanted light.
  • It’s a win-win for everyone

There are so many reasons to celebrate and protect the night, and protecting the night starts with you. You can make a difference with the flick of a switch and by installing responsible lighting in your home or business. Go to www.darksky.org for more information. Thank you, and starry regards!

Western Slope Skies is produced by the Black Canyon Astronomical Society and KVNF community radio. This episode was written and voiced by Aaron Watson of the Colorado Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association.