About SFAA Live-streamed Lectures

Once monthly, the SFAA hosts distinguished guest speakers who are leaders in the fields of astronomy, physics and related disciplines. The speakers present to the public and SFAA members the latest developments from cutting-edge scientific programs.   To view archived lectures, click here.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  the monthly lectures are being made available by live stream.  Use your computer or mobile device to connect to the links provided below.


17 August 2022, 7:00 PM, Wednesday, Live-streamed via Zoom, YouTube and Facebook

“The World’s Largest International Dark Sky Reserve”


Stephen Hummel, U of Texas, Austin, McDonald Observatory
Amber Harrison, International Dark Sky Association, Tucson

Over the past 100+ years, the world's night skies have been rapidly vanishing due to the spread of light pollution. Thankfully, easy solutions to light pollution exist. In a remote region of West Texas and Northern Mexico, astronomers, conservationists, parks, and many communities have teamed together to form the largest area in the world where the night sky is protected: the Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky Reserve. The reserve is not only the largest of its kind at over 15,000 square miles in area, but also the first such reserve to cross an international border. At the core of the reserve is the University of Texas' McDonald Observatory, home to one of the largest telescopes in the world. McDonald Observatory has worked with surrounding communities for decades to promote better lighting practices to preserve our night skies, without requiring people to live in darkness. Stephen Hummel will discuss the impact of artificial light as well as the strategies that have led to the reserve's success. 

Brief Bio

Stephen Hummel is the Dark Skies Initiative Coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin's McDonald Observatory, located in the Big Bend region of Texas. His educational background is in international relations, and is an avid amateur astronomer and photographer. Alongside many partners, Stephen was involved in establishing the world's largest International Dark Sky Association certified Dark Sky Reserve in the Big Bend region of Texas and Mexico in early 2022. Encompassing over 15,000 square miles, the Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky Association Reserve protects the night sky across a vast region of the Chihuahuan desert on both sides of the Rio Grande. 

Amber Harrison received her undergraduate and master’s degree in bioarcheology at Wichita State University. She became a Park Ranger and interpreter at Big Bend Ranch State Park, the largest, most remote and darkest place in Texas, and developed a focus on dark sky conservation. She is a Dark Sky Places Program Associate with IDA.

How to Attend

To attend the virtual meeting "live" with the opportunity to ask questions:

Connect starting at 6:30pm on Wednesday, August 17th by clicking this Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/j/95830904603?pwd=UDNKdm16US9wK1EremdJeGptdjNNdz09

Clicking the link may prompt you to install the Zoom virtual meeting app. Once installed, you will be able to join the meeting. If the app is already installed on your device, simply enter the meeting number 958 3090 4603 and password 116064 to join the meeting.

Once joined, you can test your audio and video, and greet other members.

Board members will join the meeting early to help troubleshoot any problems with audio or video.

"Doors Open" at 6:30pm and the announcements and lecture will start promptly at 7:00pm.

Alternatively, please visit the following channels to attend the live stream:

SFAA YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChuBJGp_iJYZ11q_ayA-q3A

SFAA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/152754481404310