Texas Hill Country News

City of Fredericksburg Achieves Dark Sky Designation

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In June 2018, we wrote about the city of Fredericksburg making an application to become an International Dark Sky Community (IDSC.) In February 2020, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) Board reviewed the city’s request, and the Texas Hill Country municipality’s application was unanimously endorsed. The IDA’s mission is to protect the night skies for current and future generations. To become recognized as an International Dark Sky Community, applicants go through a thorough process, demonstrating strong community support and documenting program requirements that are designation specific. But what is an IDSC?

City of Fredericksburg Achieves Dark Sky Designation

Photo: @anyaalekseenko via Twenty20

An International Dark Sky Community, as recognized by the IDA, is any municipality, town, city, or otherwise legally organized community showing extraordinary commitment to the preservation of the night sky. They do so by implementing and enforcing dark sky education, an outstanding outdoor lighting regulation, and their citizen’s support of the initiative. They must also achieve success in light pollution control and implement a sky brightness measurement program. Such communities stand out in their efforts to encourage dark sky stewardship and responsible lighting. They also set good examples for communities in the surrounding area. A prime example is that of Fredericksburg. It now joins the neighboring communities of Horseshoe Bay, Dripping Springs, and Wimberley Valley in the goal of protecting the Texas night skies.

City of Fredericksburg Achieves Dark Sky Designation

Photo: @paragon_photography via Twenty20

In the city of Fredericksburg, Dark Sky monitoring equipment was donated by the Putman Mountain Observatory and Ken Kattner. It was installed on the roof of the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Golf Course Club House, and the information that it collects after sunset is read every five minutes, followed by monitoring every fifteen minutes. Those data points are averaged to provide a total of four readings per hour, all of which is uploaded to the Putman Mountain Observatory and can be viewed at the link available here.

In response to the recognition as an International Dark Sky Community, Fredericksburg City Manager Kent Myers said, “The dark skies in the Fredericksburg area are important to our overall quality of life. This designation illustrates our commitment to preserving our dark skies for future generations to enjoy.” Those seeking further information around the Fredericksburg IDSC designation or wanting to learn more about the Dark Skies Over Fredericksburg initiative in the Texas Hill Country can visit the link on the city’s website, available here. If you or your community are interested in becoming similarly designated, you can learn more about the International Dark Sky Community at the association’s website, at the link provided here.