First Tuesday: Protecting the Dark Side of the Sky

First Tuesday: Protecting the Dark Side of the Sky

The Tapestry of Night: Protecting the Dark Side of the Sky

When: Tuesday, August 1 at 7pm
Where: Twisp River Tap House

Doors will open at 6:15, presentation at 7pm. The Tap House will be offering drinks and delicious food on a night when they are typically closed. Come early and support a local business by purchasing a drink, a snack, or dinner! Contact Bridger with any questions you may have.

Can't get enough learning about the night sky? Join The Methow Dark Sky Coalition for their Milky Way Social Club event on August 3 at the Methow Valley Ciderhouse. Event details at this link. You might also want to join Shane and the Conservancy for a star viewing party on August 4; event details at this link.

Talk Description:

Humans have always felt a deep and abiding connection with the night sky, simultaneously aware that the grandest mysteries are hidden in the stars while we are firmly rooted to this small rocky sphere we call home. Almost everyone has enjoyed a casual glance at the brilliant stars from the safety of their back porch, or had the chance to be dazzled by the sight of Saturn or the Orion Nebula through a small telescope. Many of us have had the opportunity to camp out under the dark of the Pacific Northwest and seen the great arch of the Milky Way soaring overhead.

Increasingly, however, our night skies are vanishing behind the glare of human development. Today, people can live their entire lives beneath the bright bubble of light cast by our civilization and never see the night sky, a fact that has important and far reaching consequences. In this talk we will take a tour of the night sky, and examine the impact our growing love affair with eternal light is having on the precious natural resource of "dark night skies."


Shane Larson is a research professor of physics at Northwestern University, where he is the Associate Director of CIERA (Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics). He works in the field of gravitational wave astrophysics, specializing in studies of compact stars, binaries, and the galaxy with both the ground-based LIGO project, and future space-based observatory LISA. He grew up in Eastern Oregon, and was formerly a tenured associate professor of physics at Utah State University. He is an award winning teacher, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In addition to his career as a professional astronomer, he is an avid amateur astronomer, observing with homebuilt telescopes: a 12.5" named EQUINOX, a 16" named CALYPSO, and a 22" named COSMOS MARINER. He contributes regularly to a public science blog at, and tweets with the handle @sciencejedi.

Banner photo courtesy of Shane L. Larson

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