Dark Skies Resources


Oil and Gas Resources

• Railroad Commission of Texas Reminds Operators to Reduce Light Near McDonald Observatory. Notice to Operators, Railroad Commission of Texas (February 2016 & 2019).

• Texas General Land Office requires its oil and gas lessees to follow the recommended lighting practices to protect our environment from light pollution. The Texas General Land Office.

• McDonald Observatory Will Promote Dark Skies Awareness with Gift from Apache Corporation. Press Release (July 23, 2019).

• Dark Skies Initiative Video  (3:20).  Produced by Texan by Nature.

• Recommended Lighting Practices for OILFIELD LIGHTING (2.0 MB PDF).

• Explanatory Video for Recommended Lighting Practices (Video: 38:15).

• McDonald Observatory, Oil and Gas Organizations Collaborate to Protect Night Skies. Press Release (July 9, 2018).

• Presentation to Executive Oil Conference.  (Video: 17:25; November 2018).

• Upgraded Rig Lighting Improves Night Time Visibility While Reducing Stray Light and the Threat to Dark Skies in West Texas. Society of Petroleum Engineers (March 2015).

• No Ordinary Camera. McDonald Observatory adopts all sky photometry system developed by the National Park Service.

• Dark Skies Initiative selected by Texan by Nature as a 2018 Conservation Wrangler recipient.

• Single page Dark Skies Initiative flier for the oil and gas industry.  (McDonald Observatory and Texan by Nature.)

• LED Lighting for Oil and Gas Facilities.  IEEE Xplore (October 2014).

• Oil vs. astronomy: The race to protect the night sky in West Texas. Dallas Morning News (January 2019).

• Texas Collaboration Protects Dark Skies. International Dark-sky Association blog post.

• A Radio Documentary: "Dark Skies, Dark Energies", by Ian Lewis, Marfa Public Radio (27:30; December 2017).

• McDonald Observatory works with energy companies to stop light pollution. My San Antonio (October 2017).

• Oil field flares and lights creeping closer to the famed McDonald Observatory. San Antonio Express News (April 2017).

• When Staying in the Dark is the Brightest Idea.  Permian Basin Petroleum Association Magazine (September 2017).

General Resources:

• General Lighting Guidelines. Basic principles for best lighting practices.

• Preserving Texas' Night SkiesTri-fold brochure suitable for printing.  (McDonald Observatory and Texan by Nature.)

• Good and not so good light fixtures compared  (PDF).

• An excellent resource is the International Dark-sky Association.

• Resources and activities for teachers and educators:  Dark Skies Rangers Program.

• How Dark is Your Sky? AstroBob.

• The Strange Scourge of Light Pollution.  YouTube video (10:00).

• Lights at Night from Space.  Lighttrends.  Map showing nighttime lighting around the world as seen by a satellite using the VIIRS Day/Night Band and allowing measurement of changes in upward radiance in a selected area over time.  (Note:  Given the spectral sensitivity of the VIIRS Day/Night Band, blue light is underrepresented.)

• Our nights are getting brighter, and Earth is paying the price.  National Geographic (April 2019).

• How and Why to Reduce Light Pollution on Your Property.  Hello Homstead (January 2019).

• The Vanishing Night: Light Pollution Threatens Ecosystems.  The Scientisit (October 2018).

• How the marvel of electric light became a global blight to health.  Aeon (August 2018).

Preserving Dark Skies in the Big Bend. Cenizo Journal (December 2020).