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A Look At "Astrotourism" In Idaho And The Problem Of Light Pollution

Comet Washington State
Ted S. Warren/AP
The planets Saturn, center-left, and Jupiter, center-right, are shown between a wind turbine and Milky Way just after midnight, Monday, July 27, 2020, near Vantage, Wash. Star-gazers who are out searching for the Comet Neowise before it fades from view can direct their gaze to the skies opposite the comet for good views of the two planets. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Idaho is home to the First International Dark Sky Reserve in the U.S., known as the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve. The gleaming jewels of the night sky over the Sawtooth National Recreation area attract people from around the world who escape the electric lights of their cities in favor of a clear view of the Milky Way.

The enemy of the reserve? That would be light pollution, the glow of lights from street lamps, house lamps, office building fluorescents and other artificial sources.

But Idaho Matters guest Michael Marlin thinks one of the best things humans can do for our health, our spiritual lives and for our environment is to switch off the lights. Marlin is an advocate for dark skies in Idaho and for astro-tourism around the world.

Frankie Barnhill is the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast. She's always interested in hearing surprising and enlightening stories about life in the West. Have an idea for Idaho Matters? Drop her a line!