Dark Night Skies

 

Photo by Casey Kiernan

Some of the beauty of our hi-desert occurs after dark with our thrilling night skies. MBCA believes in conserving the beauty of these dark skies.

In April 2016 a new San Bernardino County Dark Skies Committee was initiated by Supervisor James Ramos. The group has been working with the County to improve the lighting code and its enforcement, as well as to develop some educational programs. MBCA Directors Pat Flanagan, Seth Shteir, and Laraine Turk have served on this committee. 

Locally, there are several groups that interpret the night skies for residents and visitors:

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Southern California Desert Video Astronomers

Sky's the Limit Observatory and Nature Center

Twentynine Palms Astronomy Club 

The Andromeda Society

 

 

  • Featured post

    County Planning Commission Defers Decision on Light Trespass Ordinance

    At their February 4th meeting, the four San Bernardino County Planning Commission members present (Weldy, Stoffel, Haughey, Gongora) voted to defer any decision on the recommendation to adopt the proposed Light Trespass Ordinance. They will schedule a Workshop on the issue at a future Planning Commission meeting. Commissioners had many concerns that Land Use Services staff were unable to answer to their satisfaction. More background and links can be found in the first article of our February 1 Eblast or our January 31 News Update
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  • Featured post

    New Light Trespass Ordinance on Planning Commission Agenda

    Ten years after the start of Morongo Basin community efforts to improve the San Bernardino County lighting ordinance, the Planning Commission will hold a hearing on a revised “Light Trespass” ordinance on February 4. (Meeting details and documents can be found here.) The revision would replace the earlier “Glare and Outdoor Lighting” section of the Development Code with updated and improved language focused on light trespass. In the Land Use Services staff report you can read both the existing and proposed ordinances and additional background and context.

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    MBCA Board members and supporters have been continuously involved in dark sky initiatives for the last decade. The Morongo Basin Dark Sky Alliance (2010-2013) was the first local coalition to propose code changes, while providing educational events and a Joshua Tree porch light replacement project funded by the County. A summary of the MBDSA projects can be found here. In 2014 then-Supervisor James Ramos appointed a County Dark Sky Committee which pursued educational programs and code revisions. Following Supervisor Ramos’ election to the California Assembly in 2018, the committee was reinitiated by his appointed successor Dawn Rowe as the Third District Dark Sky Committee. This last committee successfully shepherded their concerns into the current proposed ordinance with the support of Supervisor Rowe, recently deceased County Code Enforcement Chief Andy Wingert, and John Barentine from the International Dark-Sky Association.

    If approved by the Planning Commission, the revised ordinance will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for their final approval.  

     

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  • Featured post

    JTNP Achieves International Dark Sky Status

    The Morongo Basin is now home to an international Dark Sky Park. Joshua Tree National Park achieved their long-time goal of Dark Sky Park status bestowed by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA).  This significant achievement is the result of several years of work by Park staff, providing data and receiving IDA representatives for review. The Los Angeles Times article announcing the Park's new status mentions Morongo Basin night sky activists Tom O'Key, Luke Sabala, and Caryn Davidson. MBCA supported Joshua Tree National Park’s IDA Dark Sky Park application - here is our June 2016 letter in support of the Park's application.    

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  • Featured post

    Morongo Basin Dark Sky Alliance Presentation

    At the April 21 Black Rock Symposium focused on "Grass Roots Activism in the Morongo Basin," panelist and MBCA Director Laraine Turk described the work of the Morongo Basin Dark Sky Alliance that operated under the County's jurisdiction from 2010-2013. MBCA Director Claudia Sall was also an active participant on the Committee, which worked with the County and local residents to provide education and work toward an improved County lighting ordinance. A PDF file of the presentation is available.
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  • Featured post

    Turn off lights for Earth Hour

    A worldwide effort to bring attention to environmental issues and climate change is represented by the act of turning off as many of your home lights as possible for one hour, between 8:30 and 9:30 PM, on Saturday, March 25.  Much more information is available on the Earth Hour website.
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  • Featured post

    San Bernardino County Dark Sky Committee

    In April 2016, San Bernardino County District 3 Supervisor James Ramos appointed the San Bernardino County Dark Sky Committee (SBCDSC) to interact with the County about its lighting regulations and code, in consideration of the need of dark skies to maintain both lifestyle and the tourism economy in the Desert and Mountain regions of the County.

    Three MBCA Board members are part of this Committee:  Pat Flanagan, Seth Shteir, and Laraine Turk.

    As of October 2016, the Committee has worked with Joshua Tree National Park and the International Dark Sky Association as the Park pursues a Dark Sky Park designation from IDA.  The Committee will also be involved in the Park's Night Sky Festival on October 28-30, 2016.

    Discussion with the Supervisor and County Code Enforcement is planned for November. 
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  • Featured page

    Dark Night Skies

     

    Photo by Casey Kiernan

    Some of the beauty of our hi-desert occurs after dark with our thrilling night skies. MBCA believes in conserving the beauty of these dark skies.

    In April 2016 a new San Bernardino County Dark Skies Committee was initiated by Supervisor James Ramos. The group has been working with the County to improve the lighting code and its enforcement, as well as to develop some educational programs. MBCA Directors Pat Flanagan, Seth Shteir, and Laraine Turk have served on this committee. 

    Locally, there are several groups that interpret the night skies for residents and visitors:

    new_moon_-_1.jpg

    Southern California Desert Video Astronomers

    Sky's the Limit Observatory and Nature Center

    Twentynine Palms Astronomy Club 

    The Andromeda Society

     

     

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