Monday, September 7, 2009

Dark Sky Festival in Harmony Florida ~ Fight Light Pollution!


The purpose of the Dark Sky Festival in Harmony Florida is to expose the general public to the marvels of astronomy and the importance of protecting dark skies - not just for astronomy purposes, but also for the values that darkness provides to area wildlife.

The entire family-friendly festival is held outdoors in low light conditions on the streets, sidewalks and park located in Harmony Town Square.

An important value of gazing at the night sky is the mental rejuvenation that it brings. The evening will include recording artist Jonn Serrie performing his own style of "space music." Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs for lawn use in the amphitheatre area. Mr. Serrie's performance outdoors on an unlit stage will provide a perfect setting for minds to wander through the stars.

Due to Harmony's efforts and the support of the County Commissioners, an ordinance now requires new lighting in the County to be protective of dark skies. In a county that includes portions of Walt Disney World and has extensive brightly lit tourist commercial uses, this was a significant event in itself. In addition, all County facilities were retrofitted to better protect the night sky.

Harmony is an environmentally intelligent community located in Central Florida and was chosen as the site for the Dark Sky Festival for several reasons:
  • Harmony Town Square, where the event is held, is in an area rated as Class 4 on the Bortle Scale of Light Pollution.
  • The developer has commited to protecting dark skies. For example, all street lighting, any park lighting and other public lighting uses full cut off fixtures. Private residential and commercial lighting is also held to this standard.
  • The Central Florida Astronomical Society uses Harmony as one of their observing locations in Central Florida.
  • The Harmony Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and the primary event sponsor, is located at Harmony and advises the Harmony developer on lighting and other measures to protect natural systems.
I think this sounds like a great event, that would be tons of fun.  Visit the site here to learn all about it, if you near the area, think about going!  If you do, let me know how it turns out.  I would be there if I wasn't all the way up in Michigan!

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