28 March 2009, 8:30-9:30 p.m.
UPDATE: March 29
Many supporters of Earth Hour turned out lights in the region to raise awareness about our consumption of resources. For example, middle school students turned off lights in school (on Friday), businesses shut down lights for an hour, campus electrical use was curtailed for the weekend, courthouse lights were dimmed, elementary school students signed contracts to lessen their lighting, and diners enjoyed candlelight dinners. Local news outlets covered the story, with WSBT TV featuring "Local Businesses Commemorate Earth Hour" (and dimming its lights) and WNDU TV reporting "Earth Hour observed Saturday in Michiana and around the world."
For some very cool before-and-after pictures of major sites around the world that turned off lights, click on each photo to watch the lights fade out.
Critics of Earth Hour contend it's counter-productive to replace electic lighting with candlelight, and for that reason Earth Hour is a sham. We wrote the following reply:
"If you're replacing every light bulb that's turned off with an equivalent amount of candlelight, then you're missing the point--and opportunity-- of Earth Hour. At a local restaurant, every table had about two candles per four people. Meanwhile, lights were off that had been formerly committed to lighting trees, outside walls, signage, bottoms of bridges, car lots, more wall wash, steeples, and clouds. The reduction of most excessive lights were not then compensated by more candles. One of our challenges is to counter excessive consumption of resources, and the use of a few candles is a small investment for a much greater return. You can't begin to change behaviors until people are aware of the issues, and Earth Hour brings attention to our collective consumptive behavior at a relatively low cost."
Let There Be Night is turning out the lights on Saturday, March 28, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Please join us, indoors and out, for one twenty fourth of one rotation of earth. Turn off any excessive or unnecessary lights, while maintaining sufficient lighting for necessary tasks and adequate safety. Participants of Earth Hour are welcome to display the mini-poster, right, designed by Lisa Keyte.
Home page of Earth Hour in the U.S.
Earth Hour for Kids
Teaching guides (K-12), family activities, Earth Hour graphics.
Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea Discusses LTBN and Earth Hour with Students
Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea met with six students from PHM schools to inform him of activity in his community related to Let There Be Night (LTBN). Mayor Rea shared his perspective on lighting issues and the action underway by Mishawaka to address public concerns. The students demonstrated the value of fully shielded lights by sharing the Maglite demo; expressed the upsides of better outdoor lighting, ranging from taxpayer dollars saved to improvement of the environment; and invited Mayor Rea to embrace Earth Hour.
"Students at PHM Schools to take part in stargazing experiment." WNDU TV news coverage of visit by PHM students with Mishawaka Mayor Jeff Rea to discuss Let There Be Night and Earth Hour. Click the camera icon at www.wndu.com/localnews/headlines/39395442.html for the video; February 10, 2009.
Soccer Zone supports Earth Hour at the invitation of a student. The Earth Hour poster was displayed in the window by Brad Mick, the manager of Soccer Zone.
Students, send us the names of participating parties so me may recognize the companies that are supportive.
Hear the Podcast: Restaurant owner Jonathon Lutz serves more than food as he shares his business uptick from Earth Hour. His comments are near the end of the "Gosh Dim It All!" podcast, which was broadcast by the New Media Working Group of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. You can also find it and daily astronomy podcasts at 365 Days of Astronomy. Scroll down to (or find in the Archives) the podcast for Sunday, January 18, 2009.
The Moon, Stars, & ISS During Earth Hour
At the beginning of Earth Hour on Saturday, March 28, look for an extremely thin crescent moon in the western sky about 20 degrees above the horizon. At the end of Earth Hour, at 9:30 p.m., the stars in the southeast sky will look like this scene (right), with Orion prominent and the bright star Sirius down and to the left of the three Belt Stars. Click the image to enlarge.
Then, in the final minute of Earth Hour, look to the northwest. From Michiana you can see the International Space Station (ISS) rise in the NW at 9:30 p.m. and climb up to almost 40 degrees of altitude in the NNE. Approaching the handle of the Big Dipper in the NE, the ISS will fade out as it enters the shadow of the earth at 9:32 p.m. (see background starfield).With its new solar panel also reflecting the sun, it should be a brilliant spectacle (weather permitting) as it passes over the Great Lakes (see ISS ground track). Satellite passes courtesy of Chris Peat at www.heavens-above.com.
To track the ISS, space shuttle, and Iridium flares, go to www.Heavens-Above.com. Under Configuration, click "from database", select United States and enter your city name in the "Search String". It will then automatically fill in your details. [Note: Frequent users may want to create a new user account. If you do create a new account, do not use the Indiana time zone, for it incorrectly does not account for Daylight Saving Time; rather, select "(GMT-5) USA (Eastern)..." for your time zone.] You can also view NASA's sighting times for the ISS for South Bend or for other US cities.
From www.sunrisesunset.com/calendar.asp for Mishawaka, IN (on the western edge of the time zone):
Civil Twilight: 8:32pm
Nautical Twilight: 9:05pm
Astronomical Twilight: 9:39pm
Earth Hour is 8:30 pm. to 9:30 p.m.