▶️ The future of Bend’s light pollution; seeing stars a thing of the past?


You already might be seeing fewer and fewer stars overhead across the Deschutes Counties night sky.

“If you’ve only been here a couple years, you can see the sky changing,” said Observatory Manager at the Worthy Brewing Hopservatory Grant Tandy. “We’re losing the Milky Way we can see every summer and we can still kind of see it, but I just worry if we go another couple years at this rate, it’s not going to be there anymore.”

With an increase in population, comes an increase in light pollution.

Anything from houses, business, parking lots, can contribute, if light is shown.

Monday night members of the International Dark-Sky Association, Oregon Chapter, spoke at McMenamins in Bend, showing facts that can no longer be hidden in the dark.

Light pollution is dramatically increasing across Deschutes County.

“Just over the last 10 years for example, the light pollution from the unincorporated part of Deschutes County has doubled, meanwhile the City of Bend, which is putting out a lot more light pollution has increased by 11%. Said IDA Board Chair Dr. Bill Kowalik.

Kowalik studies light from both photometers and satellites, to help understand where the light is coming from.

Light isn’t just making the stars harder to see or changing our circadian sleep rhythm, it’s also affecting our ecosystem.

“Light pollution has an adverse effect on all wildlife, every species of wildlife that has been studied has shown some sort of negative effect,” said Kowalik. “There has never been a positive effect of light pollution.”

Monday night’s talk, which spoke to around 80 people, was put on by the High Desert Museum.

They’re putting on an upcoming exhibit called  “Vanishing Night: Conserving Dark Skies in the High Desert,” April 16.

“The exhibit is all about why we need to protect the dark night sky for our wildlife and humans included and then also some of the things we can do to protect a dark night sky,” said museum Curator Hayley Brazier.

Here is a list of a few things you can do to help reduce light pollution:

  1. ​Use fully shielded lighting fixtures
  2. Use energy-efficient light bulbs and fixtures
  3. Choose no more than 2700 Kelvin bulbs, amber in color
  4. Use timers, dimmers, and motion sensors when possible
  5. Use light only when needed, lights should be no brighter than necessary



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