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By 2025 true darkness will have disappeared from our skies.

Is that our legacy?

Can we light our campus and city better? 

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, created to be played on the dome at the John C. Wells Planetarium, summarizes light pollution in the Valley, its consequences, and its ready solutions. Full dome film created by James Madison University student Daniel Stein '16.


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


All events are free and open to the public!

Wednesday, March 30    Screening of the award-winning documentary “The City Dark” (see trailer below). Before the film, Starry Nights creators Dr. Paul Bogard and Planetarium Director Shanil Virani will introduce the week and its events. Anthony Seeger Auditorium, James Madison University [link to campus map]
7:30 -- 9:30 pm.

Thursday, March 31    #JMU2025: Reimagining Campus Lighting
 Simulations of light pollution growth in the USA suggest by 2025 darkness will have disappeared from skies forever more. Is that our legacy? How can we light a campus that improves safety & security but is cost effective, efficient, and environmentally friendly? 10 JMU students taking ENVT 400 present how they would light their campus by 2025. Harrison Hall, Room 1261, James Madison University  [link to campus map]
7:00 -- 8:30 pm

Friday, April 1                                  TWO EVENTS TO CHOOSE FROM! 

Edith J. Carrier ArboretumPartnering with the John C. Wells Planetarium, the Headwaters Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists, the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum offer a free dark sky program. Come to enjoy a walk in the woods to explore the nature at night. The evening will start at the Frances Plecker Education Center.  Parking is limited so please consider carpooling.
7:00 -- 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.
8:00 -- 10:00 pm.


Saturday, April 2   Astrophotography & Star Party The last event of Starry Nights 2016 will take place at Shenanandoah National Park. The brightening of the night sky is not just limited to urban environments as the glow from cities now intrudes and disturbs the environments protected by our national parks. Join us for a workshop on astrophotography with acclaimed astrophotographer Daniel Stein and public star party at Big Meadow! Byrd Visitor Center, Shenandoah National Park 
8:00 -- 11:00 pm.

Short Film Contest

In 2014, we held a community-wide short film competition to highlight light pollution in our community. The short video below was last year's first place winner! Second and third place submissions just below the first place video.


This is our 3rd Starry Nights!

See what we did the last two years:

Starry Nights 2014

Starry Nights 2015

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!