Dripping Springs proclaims October as Hill Country Night Sky Month

DRIPPING SPRINGS, TEXAS – At a recent City Council meeting, the Council proclaimed October as Hill Country Night Sky Month in Dripping Springs. Dripping Springs joins The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) and many other communities in our area that are dedicated to the preservation of the region’s night skies.

October will be the second annual Hill Country Night Sky Month and will be a celebration of the star-filled night sky — one of our region’s most dazzling features — and the many ways that Hill Country communities are working together to preserve it.

Dripping Springs is known for its beautiful night skies. It is the first city in Texas to be designated as an International Dark Sky Community and the sixth one in the world.

This designation was given to the City in 2014 by the International Dark-Sky Association. Its beautiful star-filled skies are one of the wonderful things that make Dripping Springs a wonderful community. It also attracts tourism, thus helping the local economy.

To help maintain that designation, through the proclamation, the City Council encourages citizens to learn about light pollution and why it matters, to learn about night sky friendly lighting and lighting regulations, and to implement practices and lighting improvements that will reduce light pollution to preserve the night skies.

During October and all year round, Dripping Springs residents and businesses can follow some of these guidelines to help protect the skies:

  • Turn off exterior decorative lighting
  • Use light only when and where needed
  • Use only as much light as needed
  • Aim needed lights down
  • Extinguish pot and floodlights
  • Minimize blue light emissions
  • Use energy efficient lighting sources and fixtures
  • Use timers, dimmers, and motion sensors
  • Select warm LED bulbs that are under a 3,000 Kelvin
  • Draw blinds or curtains to reduce light spill that contributes to sky
  • Turn off interior lighting especially on higher stories

The proclamation also encourages citizens to enjoy the night sky and to participate in the Dripping Springs and the Hill County region’s events, programs, and activities celebrating the night sky.

Those include:

  • Lights Out Dripping Springs

All across America, birds are migrating to their new homes. To help in the migration, the City of Dripping Springs launched Lights Out Dripping Springs, asking residents and businesses to take a pledge to turn off exterior lights during Fall Migration: September 5 – October 29 from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. By turning off excess lighting during the months migrating birds are flying overhead, communities can help provide them safe passage between their nesting and wintering grounds. Residents and businesses can learn more and take the pledge at: cityofdrippingsprings.com/night-sky

  • Dripping Springs Star Party

Come explore the wonders of the night sky at the Dripping Springs Star Party at Dripping Springs Ranch Park on Friday, October 8, from 8:00 pm-9:30 pm. Local astronomy enthusiast, Doug Witkowski, will be bringing a telescope to teach and point out constellations. You may even see some of the Draconids Meteor Shower, which reaches its peak on October 8. This is a free event, but you need to register. Learn more and register at cityofdrippingsprings.com/night-sky/pages/join-our-october-star-party

These are just some of the activities and events taking place during October. You can find more on the Hill Country Alliance website (HCA) at hillcountryalliance.org/nightskymonth. HCA is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country.

For any questions regarding the Proclamation or Dripping Springs activities during Hill Country Night Sky Month, contact Melanie Blakely at mblakely@cityofdrippingsprings.com, or call the City of Dripping Springs at 512-894-2400.

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