In the Dark

Grunions at night by Dr. Karen Martin, Pepperdine University

Grunions at Night, photo courtesy of Dr. Karen Martin, Pepperdine University

People from the city are sometimes surprised by the array of stars visible in our rural neighborhoods. But, stargazing isn’t the only reason to protect dark skies. Many animals are unsettled and confused by the brightness of artificial lights – they disturb breeding cycles, sleeping schedules, hunting of prey, and navigation for nocturnal animals. Even growth cycles of certain plant species may be spoiled.


Dark Sky Ordinances
Maintaining darkness at night is critical for many kinds of wildlife – their ability to hunt, migrate, and reproduce is affected by artificial light. The City of Calabasas has adopted outdoor lighting guidelines to preserve dark skies. Also, the City of Malibu and Los Angeles County are addressing this issue for areas where non-emergency outdoor lights are used.


Astronomy in the Santa Monica Mountains
Due to open space and parklands, much of the Santa Monica Mountains remains dark at night. The National Park Service hosts a Summer Star Festival every year at Paramount Ranch. And, we even have a local astronomy club with a terrific annual outdoor event.