Physics & Astronomy Professor Matt Craig featured in Forum story about light pollution

Restoring ‘dark sky’ would benefit birds, people and science, local advocates say

By Robin Huebner
May 22, 2023

Light pollution is harming wildlife, birds and humans, according to a delegate from Dark Sky International and the National Audubon Society.

GLYNDON, Minn. — When one’s passion involves scanning the heavens for distant objects in the name of science or a hobby, a dark night sky is a must.

Matt Craig has spent many an evening doing just that in the observatory at the Minnesota State University Moorhead Regional Science Center, adjacent to Buffalo River State Park.

But research by the professor and his students in the MSUM Physics and Astronomy department is increasingly affected by a bright glow to the west — the “light dome” over Fargo-Moorhead.

“It’s never dark in that direction,” Craig said.

The phenomenon of “light pollution,” created by improper or excess use of artificial light at night, is gaining attention for its impacts not only on science, but on the health of humans, other animals, birds, insects and agriculture.

Patrick Sommer is advocating for dark sky restoration locally as a delegate for the International Dark-Sky Association, soon to be known as Dark Sky International, the leading organization fighting light pollution.

He’s also associated with Starry Skies North Dakota and Starry Skies North IDA, a nonprofit based mainly in Minneapolis and Duluth.

In those roles, he was recently able to persuade Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney and Moorhead Mayor Shelly Carlson to sign a joint proclamation in April in support of 2023 International Dark Sky Week in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Read the rest of The Forum story