Recognition Program


Night Sky Friendly Lighting Recognition Program

McDonald Observatory wants to recognize and thank businesses or organizations that help protect our night sky by following our recommended outdoor lighting practices.

Night Sky Friendly outdoor lighting keeps light on the ground and out of the sky, helping to preserve the exceptional night skies Far West Texas is famous for. It’s also better for business: night sky friendly lighting designs improve visibility and safety, and can be more cost effective than traditional designs. They’re also better for our health and environment.

Recipients of the Night-Sky Friendly recognition will receive two window decals and two 5" x 5" stickers for display, an 11" x 17" poster, and will be recognized on our website and in local media where appropriate.


Lighting Principles

McDonald Observatory has the following recommendations for outdoor lighting:

1. Lights fixtures should be shielded such that the bulb or light source is not visible from above or from off-property. Lights should be aimed down at the ground. 

2. The light sources should have a color temperture of 2,700K or below (soft white / amber).

3. Lights should not emit more light than is necessary. The total output should not exceed 50,000 lumens per net acre for businesses or public spaces, or 25,000 lumens per net acre for residential areas.

4. Lights that are not in use, such as business signs or decorative lights after hours, should be turned off, put on a timer to turn off automatically, or only actived temporarily with a motion sensor.

5. Fixtures must comply with existing county or municipal lighting ordinances.


Nominations

Do you know of or represent a business or organization which is night-sky friendly?

Feel free to nominate them here!

McDonald Observatory will consider nominations in the following Texas counties and the cities within:

  • Jeff Davis
  • Brewster
  • Presidio
  • Culberson
  • Pecos
  • Reeves
  • Hudspeth

Nominees do NOT need to perfectly conform to the recommended lighting guidelines in order to be considered. McDonald Observatory is happy to provide assistance and guidance on lighting practices to anyone interested, regardless of location. 

 

Recognized Businesses

Night-Sky Friendly Businesses
in our area

 


Jeff Davis County Courthouse, Fort Davis, TX
Justen Pautzke / McDonald Observatory



Big Bend Sentinel
Building, Marfa, TX
Stephen Hummel / McDonald Observatory



Printco Building, Alpine, TX
Stephen Hummel / McDonald Observatory



Altus Midstream Diamond Cryogenic Complex
Balmorhea, Texas
Bill Wren / McDonald Observatory