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The Night: Why Dark Hours are So Important

Date: 21-22 Feb 2007

Location: Washington, DC, US,

For Media Credentials-

Dr. Steve Maran, Night Symposium Press Officer
American Astronomical Society
1-202-328-2010 x116

For Further Information-

Mr. Douglas Isbell, Night Symposium Press Officer
National Optical Astronomy Observatory

Ms. Kim Patten, Symposium Organizers Representative
International Dark-Sky Association

Journalists are invited to attend an interdisciplinary conference on "The Night: Why Dark Hours are So Important," on February 21-22, in Washington, DC. The event, at the Carnegie Institution, 1530 P Street, NW, brings together scientists, engineers, and designers to discuss the effects of excess artificial illumination on natural and social phenomena, ranging from the behavior and health of people and animals, to appropriate outdoor lighting designs for public safety and energy efficiency. And they'll describe the effects on our common viewing, use and enjoyment of the night sky.

The conference speakers are experts and practitioners in fields that include astronomy, biology, medical and behavioral research, anti-terrorist force protection, recreation and parks management, illumination engineering and other engineering disciplines. Their presentations are organized in four sessions:

9:00 AM EST Wednesday, February 21: Protecting the Nighttime Environment - Featuring astronomers and educators from Arizona, Hawaii and the District of Columbia, and experts from the National Park Service at Bryce Canyon, Utah and Death Valley, California.

1:00 PM EST Wednesday: Ecological and Human Health Concerns - Talks by medical researchers, investigators of the effects of light on biological and behavioral phenomena, in animals (including birds and fish) and in humans, an illumination engineer, a US Fish and Wild Life Service biologist, and an environmental and ornithological consultant.

9:00 AM EST Thursday, February 22: Energy Efficiency, Savings, & Technology - Speakers knowledgeable about vision science and on visibility and lighting for roads and for antiterrorism force protection, from the Federal Highway Administration, the Center for Vehicle and Infrastructure Safety at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, and the outdoor lighting industry.

1:00 PM EST Thursday: Solutions Remarks and conclusions from managers in the lighting industry, the California Energy Commission, and the American Astronomical Society.

In addition to the four sessions, there will be exhibits, including an exhibit and "lesson" at 4:30 PM EST on Wednesday, February 21 on the GLOBE at Night 2007 program, in which thousands of students, families and citizen-scientists around the world will be hunting for stars and measuring the brightness of their local skies during the nights of March 8 - 21. The program will introduce lay persons to questions and issues related to the visibility of the stars at night and the subject of light pollution. During a similar event in 2006, over 18,000 people --according to self-reported data-- from 96 countries reported more than 4,500 nighttime observations. (See the GLOBE at Night website at .)

The conference is co-sponsored by the American Astronomical Society, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, the Ecological Society of America, the International Dark Sky Association, Monrad Engineering, the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and is supported by a grant from NSF's Division of Astronomical Sciences and Office of Multidisciplinary Activities. (The content of this press release and the opinions and other information presented at the conference do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation nor those of the other sponsors.)

The program of the meeting and information on speakers can be found at

For complimentary Press Registration for The Night symposium, please return the enclosed form ľor the equivalent information in a letter- by e-mail.



Dr. Steve Maran
Press Officer
The Night Synposium

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