Our core mission involves educating the public on astronomical phenomena & light pollution through community engagement, public outreach events at the Smokey Jack Observatory, presentations/lectures, media information, & school activities.


Community Engagement

Since 1999, Dark Skies Inc. has helped citizens and businesses replace light polluting fixtures with shielded units that direct the necessary light downwards. We also work directly with the local community to provide information on what actions they can take to preserve our amazing night sky. Additionally, we work directly with students and the local school district to encourage learning about astronomy. We recently donated astronomy books to the Custer County Elementary to support our educational outreach.

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Speakers Series

Join us for one of our educational speakers series events! Learn how to take professional photos of the night sky, how Native peoples viewed and interpreted the stars, how to choose a telescope, and much more!


Light Pollution

Most of us are familiar with air, water, and land pollution, but did you know that light can also be a pollutant?

The inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light – known as light pollution – can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our climate. Components of light pollution include:

  • Glare – excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort
  • Skyglow – brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas
  • Light trespass – light falling where it is not intended or needed
  • Clutter – bright, confusing and excessive groupings of light sources

Light pollution is a side effect of industrial civilization. Its sources include building exterior and interior lighting, advertising, commercial properties, offices, factories, streetlights, and illuminated sporting venues.

The fact is that much outdoor lighting used at night is inefficient, overly bright, poorly targeted, improperly shielded, and, in many cases, completely unnecessary. This light, and the electricity used to create it, is being wasted by spilling it into the sky, rather than focusing it on to the actual objects and areas that people want illuminated.

The infographic to the left illustrates a three step solution to reducing light pollution by using the right color of light, dimming the light, and shielding it to prevent uplighting.