SAN DIEGO — International Dark Sky Week is an annual weeklong event that celebrates the night sky while also raising awareness on how to prevent the negative impacts of light pollution.

Happening between April 22-30, San Diegans can explore two Dark Sky communities in the area: Borrego Springs and Julian. The International Dark-Sky Association designated Borrego Springs a Dark Sky community in 2009 and Julian became one in 2021.

“An IDA International Dark Sky Community is a town, city, municipality or other legally organized community that has shown exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of a quality outdoor lighting ordinance, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies. Dark Sky Communities excel in their efforts to promote responsible lighting and dark sky stewardship, and set good examples for surrounding communities,” IDA states on their website.

Premier sites for skygazing in the Borrego Springs area include Springs at Borrego RV Resort and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. In Julian, Yelp recommends William Heise County Park, Wikiup Hummingbird Hotel and Quiet Mind Mountain Retreat among others.

Lauren Scorzafava, a communications manager for IDA, says that International Dark Sky Week “provides a wonderful opportunity for people to discover value and beauty in the dark.”

“It’s a great time to connect with the night and learn about what is at stake if light pollution continues to increase,” Scorzafava said.

IDA found that light pollution is increasing at a global average of 2.2% per year, causing it to be a threat to wildlife and ecosystems, impacting human health, wasting money and energy and blocking out the world’s view of the universe.

“However, unlike other kinds of pollution, we don’t have to wait for generations to see a change. Once solutions are implemented, the results are immediate,” the nonprofit organization said.

Here are some tips from IDA on how to reduce light pollution:

  • Use outdoor lighting responsibly by only using it where it’s needed, when it’s needed, in the amount required and no more;
  • Make sure to use the lowest light level required;
  • Limit the amount of shorter wavelength (blue-violet) light;
  • Utilize controls (such as timers or motion sensors);
  • Use shielding to target the light, so it does not spill beyond where it is needed

For more information on International Dark Sky Week, click here.