Audrey Fischer is dedicated to starlight restoration especially over cities, where light pollution can do the most harm to the greatest numbers of the population.  She was recently the past president of the Chicago Astronomical Society; past IDA BOD director and current IDA Chicago chapter leader; founder OneStar at a Time and the Global StarPark Network.
Click here to e-mail her.

Posted November 29, 2016

Congratulations  to the Starry Chicago Team!   You ROCK! 

Thank you for your amazing teamwork to reduce light pollution!
Many thanks to IDA for recognizing these awesome students and Colleen~ their team coach & teacher with this fine award.


On Nov 29, 2016, at 8:34 PM, Diana Umpierre wrote:

It is our honor to let you know that IDA has awarded you a 2016 Rising Star Award.  This award presented to students who have demonstrated an interest in dark sky preservation and/or research by developing exceptional science fair projects, conducting research, or other activities coordinated with their schools or universities. Starry Chicago has certainly earned it!!

Audrey gave us a wonderful write-up about your team, which we adapted and included in our website.  We would love to include a photo as well. Feel free to send one along ;)

This coming Saturday, December 3, we will be recognizing you during the presentation of the 2016 awards at our Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The AGM agenda is posted at link below.

The presentation of awards is scheduled to begin around 10:45 AM (Arizona time).  We hope you can join us remotely during this presentation.  If you can, I recommend joining a little earlier (may be 10:15 am?), just in case we are running earlier than usual, and/or to ensure the connection is working ok.  You are also invited to join the webcast of our entire IDA Members meeting, which will run from 8 AM to 1:15 PM (Arizona time). 

To join the webcast, follow this link to “join” the meeting: 

You’ll be prompted to download the Webex software, which should not take very long. If you prefer to use your phone for audio, call +1 (240) 454-0879 and type in access code 665 604 589 (United States only). You can also use your smartphone by downloading the appropriate app (iPhone or Android).

On behalf of the IDA board and staff,


Diana Umpierre, AICP, GISP
Vice President
International Dark-Sky Association
(954) 829-7632

Posted July 17, 2016

Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County president
makes a surprise visit to the CAS stargazing session
at Little Red School House

Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County president made a surprise visit to the stargazing session at Little Red School House July 16th. She got applause and kudos from the assembled group of 86 guests of all ages. Toni stayed for nearly the entire time, enjoying the presentations and looked through every telescope. She said she was very impressed and happy with the quality of the presentations and the friendliness of the event... and that she truly enjoyed her time. Also, she plans on coming back to stargaze with us again, maybe in September. Kudos to Marion Kowalski and a core team of volunteers, who has been doing a fine job hosting this event consistently for 25 years.

Posted April 24, 2016

2 Action Items:

There is no longer a need to compromise.
We can have starlight, and our streetlights too.
We have the smarts to do it.
Get rid of Chicago light pollution for a healthier & happier quality of life.
Please sign and share this petition in as many ways that you can think of.  Every signature helps. We need thousands of signatures, letters to the editor, organizations & school involved, and more.
Please speak up now, while the Chicago lighting plans are being tweaked.
Mayor Emanuel has a solid plan to replace 270,000 lights— the largest city lighting installation in the world.
If we we speak up now, and manage to raise the awareness level and engage others, we can restore starlight.

The City of Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel through the CIT~ Chicago Infrastructure Trust,

• No matter where you live, please send a hand-written letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel at City Hall. If you live outside of Chicago, remind him that Chicago’s light pollution affects the skies in 100 miles in all directions.
• Please call and write your alderman, they will have the final vote to approve the Mayor’s lighting plan for Chicago.  They can help stop streetlights from shining into bedroom windows, and also into the night sky.
• Chicago Park District will also have a say. The CPD has monthly Board of Commissioners meetings that you can speak at for a limit of 2 minutes. You can also submit a written comment.  See their webpage.
• Chicago Department of Transportation needs to hear from you.  They hear hundreds of complaints for MORE lighting.  Make sure they hear from you about issues of light pollution.
• Chicago Infrastructure Trust is tasked by Mayor Emanuel to gather information for the Chicago lighting plan. Let them know what you think!

If we want to end light pollution, we need to fight for it.  It’s now or never time.

Petitioning Rahm Emanuel

Bring Back Chicago's Starry Night With Responsible City Lighting

Sample letter

Dear Mayor Rahm Emanuel,

Given the recent advances and price decreases in LED lighting technology, Mayor Emanuel, you have tasked the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT) to seek out information on performing energy efficient upgrades to 270,000+ existing Chicago lights throughout the city. It’s important that we do NOT use bright white/ blue-rich spectrum lighting as it has serious negative effects on human health, the environment, and the ecosystem.

These upgrades will affect streetlights, park district, and lakefront lights. There still remains a well-enforced Chicago mandate for these lights to shine from the streetlights to the “keyhole of the front door” of the typical Chicago home. We need you to do away with this mandate, as it causes for light trespass on properties of those who wish not to have light shown on their private property, or worse, through their windows!

If this light swap is done correctly, by avoiding the bright white blue-rich color spectrum, shielding street lamps so light only shines downward, and using timers, dimming and “smart grid” technology, Chicago could once again have starlight! If done incorrectly, Chicago, which is already rated the number one most light-polluted city in the world, could become 5 times brighter than it already is! Please note, we are not advocating for no lights. We advocate for lighting that is responsible and no brighter than necessary, with a maximum correlated color temperature (CCT) of 3,000K and only pointing light on the ground where it is needed -- never sideways or upwards, which can cause unnecessary skyglow.

With current technology, research findings, and a plethora of resources, we can have both necessary street lighting AND starlight in Chicago. Please see what Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniaand its Office of Sustainability is doing with their De-Light Pittsburgh initiative to spread awareness of light pollution in their city and restoring starlight over the city.

We do not want to go through the same issues the citizens of Phoenix, Arizona went through early April, or the citizens of Davis, California did in 2014. There were many complaints by both Phoenix and Davis residents. Phoenix townspeople complained that the new bright white LEDs made their neighborhoods seem like a “prisoner of war camp” or “a sterile hospital waiting room.” Many residents of Davis believed that the new fixtures were “too bright, producing too much glare and light trespass, increasing skyglow and light pollution, and resulting in potential negative impact on human health and wildlife.” Chicago can learn from these case studies and avoid installing bright white, blue-rich spectrum LEDs before there is a demand from citizens to reinstall the lights with warmer LEDs.

Independent studies of various fields are arriving at the same conclusion: the increasing amount of light pollution, especially in regard to bright white, blue-rich spectrum light, has detrimental effects on human health. Please take this seriously. A study by Dr. David Blask, Ph.D, M.D., and team members at Tulane University School of Medicine shows that “exposure to light at night (including streetlight filtering through typical bedroom curtains), which shuts off nightime production of the hormone melatonin, renders breast cancer completely resistant to Tamoxifen, a widely used breast cancer drug.” Below is an excerpt from a study titled “The Effects of the Light at Night on Circadian Clocks and Metabolism" by Drs Laura K. Fonken and Randy J. Nelson Published by Endocrine Society, which explains the detrimental effect of blue light on the human circadian system at night:

"not all nocturnal illumination equally affects the circadian system. The intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells that project to the SCN are most responsive to the blue region of the visible spectrum (ranging from 450–485 nm) with longer wavelengths of lighting minimally influencing the circadian system (93, 94, 299)." 

Along with these studies, as well as many others, the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), a non-profit organization advocating for the reduction of light pollution, headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, states that detrimental effects of light pollution include (*denotes additional information not taken from IDA's website):

Human Health: 

o  Increased risk of cancers, metabolic disease, obesity, depression, sleep disorders, cognitive impairments, and other diseases.

o  Suppresses melatonin production, which helps induce sleep, boosts the immune system and helps the functioning of the thyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes and adrenal glands.

o  *Light pollution affects firefly reproduction as well as circadian disruption among the Monarch butterfly, interfering with safe migration.

Wildlife and Ecosystems: 

o  Nocturnal animals (animals that sleep during the day and are active at night) get confused about night in day when excessive manmade light trespasses their space, which affects their nocturnal activity, interfering with reproduction and reducing populations.

o  Many species of birds rely on seasonal cues to migrate or hunt at night. Manmade light can cause birds to wander off course, possibly leading them to migrate too early or too late, missing ideal climate conditions for nesting.

o  *According to the Fatal Light Awareness Program(FLAP), the estimated number of migrating birds killed annually in collisions with buildings ranges from 100 million to 1 billion birds.

o  Sea turtles hatch at night on the beach, and are guided by moonlight to the horizon over the ocean surface. Manmade lights draw them away from the water and to their demise. Unfortunately, millions of baby turtles die this way every year in Florida alone.

o  *Artificial lighting at night (ALAN) can disrupt an organisms natural sense of day and night, including trees and plants, causing the flowering, budding, and fruiting rhythms of the species to trigger at times not normally regulated by their natural cycles.

Crime and Safety: 

o  Brighter does not necessarily mean safer. While outdoor lighting is intended to increase safety at night, too much lighting can have the opposite effect. Glare from bright lighting constricts our pupils, which makes it harder for our eyes to adjust to low-light conditions.

Light pollution wastes taxpayer money and natural resources, and puts Chicago citizens at risk. Please choose Chicago lighting carefully, banning the blue-rich bright-white spectrum.  

Chicago is at a major crossroad. We can choose the path to claim historical, epic legacy for our dear Chicago that this generation can gift our citizens and future generations. Chicago, a city of starlight. It has never been possible before, but with visionary leadership challenging the best minds, using creative and demanding combinations of the latest technological advances, responsible choices will restore significant levels of starlight over our beautiful city, and allow the Milky Way to be seen with greater intensity to our neighbors, including our nearest national park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Why is it important to restore starlight over cities? Loss of starlight is a proof of light pollution. It is in the cities, all over the world, where light pollution is creating the most harm for the largest segment of the population. Why is it important that Chicago becomes the City of Starlight? Because “Chicago CAN!”, and when Chicago switches on starlight, and shows the rest of the world how it is done, there is hope for people living in other cities around the globe. With Chicago’s decision to switch over it’s lighting, this is our best & last chance to restore starlight within our lifetime.

We must:

o  Ban blue-rich bright white light and CCT over 3000K for most outdoor applications. Blue emitting light is not a safe option for our citizens

o  Use adaptive controls allowing the use of timers, dimmers, and light-on-demand motion activation

o  Eliminate light trespass and skyglow by not allowing luminaires to send any light directly at or above the horizontal

o  Forever ban the "streetlight-to-keyhole" lighting mandate

o  Use minimal lumens required for the job

o  Aim for a decrease of total installed flux (in the same manner as other pollutants are being reduced)

o  Consider whether a particular light is even needed at all

Please help make this happen! You know how to get it done. We’re counting on you!

Cheers+stars to you.

Respectfully submitted,

Posted August 11, 2014