International Dark Sky Week (April 5-12) is just around the corner! There are so many fun ways to participate in this annual week-long event. This year, have some fun by playing Discover the Night Bingo! Not only is it fun to play, but everyone who gets bingo will be sent an IDA magnet and sticker. Plus, you’ll be entered to win the grand prize–an IDA t-shirt of your choice! We will be randomly selecting one person from everyone who gets bingo for this prize. More information on that can be found at the end of this post. Download your bingo card here (PDF version here) or save the image below to get started. If you have a smartphone you can place emojis or use the markup feature to cover the activities that you complete. You can also print it and use a pen or marker. Be sure to share your completed cards with us on social media (even if you don’t get bingo) by tagging @IDADarkSky and using the #DiscovertheNight and #IDSW2021 hashtags.
Here are some resources to help you play:
Went outside and looked up at the night sky.
Whether you live under dark or light-polluted skies, go out and look up. What do you see? Can you see the Milky Way or just a handful of stars? Don’t let a cloudy night stop you, either! With clouds, you’ll be able to observe any skyglow reflecting off them.
Posted about IDSW on social media.
Share why dark skies are important to you or some educational material about light pollution on social media. If you have any pictures of the night sky, wildlife, or lighting, we’d love to see those too! Make sure you tag @IDADarkSky and use the official International Dark Sky Week hashtags: #IDSW2021, #DiscovertheNight, and #DarkSkyWeek. You might even see your Instagram post show up on idsw.darksky.org!
Read a book or article about light pollution.
Read a book from one of our book lists or a recent article about light pollution or dark skies. Whether you’re interested in astronomy, wildlife, or lighting, there’s something for everyone.
Donated to IDA.
Right now, when you join our monthly giving club, you will receive a special Nighthawk magnet (as pictured below) to show your support on your car or any magnetic surface.
You can also visit our Ways to Give page to see all the options for giving or purchase something from the IDA store on Bonfire. Your support directly fuels the dark sky movement and the programs that support it.
Inspected the lighting around my home.
When was the last time you inspected the lighting around your home to make sure it is dark sky friendly? International Dark Sky Week is a great time to do this! Certify your home as dark sky friendly here!
Safely attended an IDSW event.
International Dark Sky Week events are being hosted worldwide, and many of them are virtual! A list can be found on idsw.darksky.org. Find one or more that interests you and attend. Bonus points if you get a friend or family member to attend with you!
Listened to the IDSW playlist.
We’ve put together a Spotify playlist for International Dark Sky Week 2021! Please give it a listen and share it with your friends. It’s the perfect soundtrack for stargazing!
Went for a night walk or hike.
Going for a night walk or hike is a great way to experience the night. It allows you to experience things with a whole new perspective. It is also a great way to disconnect from our increasingly digital lives.
Found examples of bad lighting in your town or city.
Know of any “glare bombs” or particularly bad lighting where you live? Or maybe you never paid attention to it. International Dark Sky Week is a good time to learn more about how to use artificial lighting responsibly.
Participated in Globe at Night.
Every year, the Globe at Night international citizen-science campaign raises awareness about the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure and submit night sky brightness observations. All you need is a computer, tablet, or smartphone! And their web app is now available in 28 languages! Learn more here.
Talked to a family/friend/neighbor about light pollution.
Many people don’t think of light as a form of pollution, so by talking to people in your circle about it, you bring awareness to the issue. Since light pollution’s negative impacts range from disrupting ecosystems and wildlife and harming human health to wasting money, there’s something everyone can connect with. Use some of our resources to help spread the word.
Watched for nocturnal animals.
While people are getting ready for bed, nocturnal animals are just waking up. Look for tracks or scat to see what kind of animals are in your area. Then, try to catch a glimpse of nighttime creatures by heading outside at or after dusk. Just be sure to observe respectfully and do no harm to the wildlife.
Looked for a new constellation in the night sky.
There is so much to observe in the night sky! Try looking for a constellation that you’ve never looked for before. There are plenty of apps that can help you, such as Stellarium or Star Walk.
Followed IDA on social media.
Join the conversation on social media and make sure you’re following IDA on all of our social media accounts! They can be found here: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.
Wore dark sky-themed clothing.
Maybe you bought an official International Dark Sky Week shirt, purchased another shirt from IDA in the past, or own a piece of clothing with stars, nocturnal animals, or anything dark sky related on it. Wear it proudly during the week of April 5-12, 2021! If you’re comfortable, snap a picture and share it with us on social media.
Found examples of good lighting in your town or city.
Learning what makes good dark sky-friendly lighting is just as important as knowing what makes bad lighting. Review the information here and then look for real-life examples around your town or city.
Became an IDA member.
Not a member of IDA yet? Join now! Our members’ support directly results in increased protection of the night sky, ecosystems, wildlife, and the planet. As a member, you will receive timely, relevant news and updates about nighttime protection efforts near you and around the world, access to member resources, and membership to your local chapter.
Signed up for Nightwatch E-News.
Every month, we send out a newsletter with recent news and articles to keep you up to date on what’s going on in the dark sky movement around the world and how IDA helps support it. You can sign up here.
Safely visited a dark sky place.
Any of the International Dark Sky Places will offer an amazing view of the night sky! You can find an International Dark Sky Place near you by using the map here. For tips on visiting one, please check out this post. If you’re not located near any International Dark Sky Place, we invite you to explore some of the featured places on the story map at idsw.darksky.org.
Explored Indigenous star lore.
Astronomy didn’t start with Aristotle and Galileo, and learning a new way of looking at things is always enriching. Most astronomy courses are very Eurocentric, focusing on Greek and Roman constellation stories without considering other perspectives. But this isn’t reflective of the diverse world we live in. Dr. Annette Lee’s and Paul Curnow’s talks from our Under One Sky conference are a great place to start.
Figured out the Bortle Scale where you live.
The Bortle Scale is a 9 level numeric measure of the night sky’s brightness in a particular area. It ranges from Class 1, which encompasses the darkest skies, to Class 9, with bright inner-city skies. What level does the night sky look like where you live?
Listened to the night soundscape where you live.
The soundscape you hear when you step outside at night will be largely dependant on where you live. Do you hear the hustle and bustle of the city, the sounds of nature in a more rural area, or something in between?
Talked to a decision-maker about light pollution.
Talk to your local decision-makers about light pollution and let them know that dark skies are important to you. Try to find out if your town or city has a local lighting ordinance, and if not, advocate for one.
Did night sky arts and crafts.
Whatever your creative outlet is, create a piece of art inspired by the night sky, light pollution, or nocturnal animals. Whether you’re a painter, musician, poet, sew, needlepoint, or makeup artist, we want to see what you create! Be sure to share it with us on social media by tagging @IDADarkSky and #IDSW2021.
Got bingo? How to claim your prize:
If you complete the activities and get bingo, please fill out this form and attach a screenshot or photo of your bingo card with the squares you completed filled in so that we can get your IDA magnet and sticker to you. That also ensures that you will be entered to win the IDA t-shirt of your choice. Have fun!