Skip to Main Content

John C. Wells Planetarium

You are in the main content
Cover Photo Image


Starry Nights is a week-long series of events designed to raise awareness about light pollution (learn more by clicking on the link!) and the steps we can take to end it in our community. Light pollution — the overuse and misuse of artificial light at night — wastes money, wastes energy, endangers our physical, mental, and spiritual health, takes a tremendous environmental toll, and erases the stars from our skies. Worst of all, we have bought into the idea that more light makes us safe. Smarter use of light makes us safe, saves cities/universities/homeowners money, is better for our health and our environment. We can have responsible lighting that ensures our safety and security without polluting our nights. Please join us in celebrating the night and learning how we can implement solutions right here, right now!  [MEDIA COVERAGE]

The short video below was last year's first place winner that nicely summarizes light pollution. Second and third place submissions can be found further below!

HELP SUPPORT STARRY NIGHTS!

We are delighted to recognize financial contributions received from:

Mr. Bibb Frazier, Mr. Tom Domonoske, and Mr. Chris Pipkins. Thank you for your support!

If you would like to make a financial contribution to help support STARRY NIGHTS, please do so using this form!

 EVENT SCHEDULE

All events are free and open to the public!

Tuesday, March 24    James Madison University:  Screening of the award-winning documentary “The City Dark” at the John C. Wells Planetarium (see trailer below). Before the film, Starry Nights creators Dr. Paul Bogard and Planetarium Director Shanil Virani will introduce the week and its events, and will also show a short, new full-dome film created by James Madison University undergraduate student Daniel Stein! Note that copies of Dr. Paul Boagard's critically-acclaimed book “The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light” will be on sale for $10!
7 -- 10 pm.
 


Wednesday, March 25    Washington & Lee University
: "Starry Nights Lexington" Author & JMU Professor Dr. Paul Bogard will do a reading and presentation based on his critically-acclaimed book “The End of Night: Searching for Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.  114 Elrod Commons, Washington & Lee University, Lexington, VA.
7 -- 8:30 pm
 

Thursday, March 26    Mary Baldwin College: “Starry Nights Staunton” John C. Wells Planetarium Director Shanil Virani will discuss and demonstrate that the Shenandoah Valley is not dark at night, what light pollution looks like in Staunton, why it matters, and opportunities to make real change in the Shenandoah Valley. Francis Auditorum, Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA.  
7:00 -- 8:30 pm.


Friday, March 27                                  TWO EVENTS TO CHOOSE FROM! 

University of Virginia: "Starry Nights Charlottesville" Author & JMU Professor Dr. Paul Bogard will host a screening of the award-winning documentary “The City Dark” Following the fim, watch the stars over C'ville with help from the folks at the UVA observatory. McCormick Observatory, Charlottesville, VA.
6:00 -- 9:00 pm  

Public Star Party At JMU's Astronomy Park: public telescope observing on JMU's East Campus. Come see Jupiter, binary stars, and laser guided tour of the Valley sky! Visitors will also get a first-hand look of what light pollution looks like on JMU's campus.
7:00 -- 10:00 pm.

 

Saturday, March 28    Edith J. Carrier Arboretum: Partnering with the John C. Wells Planetarium at JMU, the Shenandoah Valley Stargazers, Virginia Master Naturalists and JMU students, the arboretum offers a free dark sky program. Come to enjoy educational activities like telescope viewing, stories and poetry reading, guided night walks, education stations and a light pollution discussion. Culminating with a celebration of Earth Hour! The evening will start at the Frances Plecker Education Center.  Parking is limited so please consider carpooling.
7:30 -- 10:00 pm.




Starry Nights in the Media!

"Bringing Back Our Starry Nights", WMRA Radio Interview with Dr. Paul Bogard, Monday March 23, 2015

"JMU's Search for Stars Returns", Daily News-Record, Monday, March 23, 2015

"At JMU, starry nights with fewer lights",The Breeze, JMU, Monday, March 23, 2015

"The Lost Dark of Night", episode of Our Island Universe, Friday, March 13, 2015

"Starry Nights on the Earth Day Horizon", News Leader, Sunday, March 7, 2015

--

"Campus event highlights safety and lighting misconceptions", The Breeze, JMU, Monday, March 31, 2014

"Star Bright: Planetarium Show Highlights What We’re Missing As Creatures Of The Light", Daily News-Record, Monday, March 31, 2014

"Eyes On The Sky: Advocate Speaks At JMU About Dimming Light Pollution", Daily News-Record, Saturday, March 29, 2014

"1-on-1: Raising Awareness on Light Pollution ", WHSV TV-3, Harrisonburg, March 24, 2014

"JMU Planetarium Hosts ‘Starry Nights Harrisonburg’", WVIR NBC 29, Charlottesville, March 24, 2014

"Truth About Light Polluition", Harrisonburg Life, April, 2014

"Light pollution is a growing problem in big and small cities", The Breeze, JMU, Monday, March 24, 2014

"Reaching (and Reaching and Reaching) for the Stars", The Spark, WMRA Radio Program, Friday, March 14, 2014

"A Call to Darkness", JMU Public Affairs, Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Reaching for Starry Nights", Virginia Insight, WMRA Radio Program, Monday, March 10, 2014

"So Long, Starry Night", page 1 | page 2, Daily News-Record, Section E, Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Dark Enough For You", Viriginia Insight, WMRA Radio Program, Monday, October 14, 2013


Please join us!