Since 2007, one hour every year is set aside for us to turn off our lights as a worldwide call to action for individuals, communities and businesses to get involved and reduce our consumption of energy. Climate change, dwindling fuel reserves, and light pollution are some of the issues confronted in this worldwide event. This year it takes place on Saturday 27 March, starting at 8:30 pm local time, and to participate, all you have to do is turn off all artificial lights on your property for one hour.
This year China’s Forbidden City heads up a list of some of the world’s most iconic landmarks that have confirmed their participation in Earth Hour – including The Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. They will be joined by Italy’s Trevi Fountain in Rome and Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament in London, Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, India Gate and Red Fort in Delhi, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Bosphorous Bridge in Istanbul, Hohensalzburg Castle in Salzburg, and Independence Angel in Mexico City. They join a comprehensive list of the world’s great man-made marvels and natural wonders, including the Eiffel Tower, Brandenburg Gate, Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Empire State Building, London Eye, Table Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue, Sydney Opera House and the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which will plunge into darkness for Earth Hour.
This is a very serious event, but for an Urban Astronomer, it’s also a brief opportunity to see a proper night sky without having to travel! So while some will be enjoying quiet family time by candle-light, I will be outside with my binoculars, exploring the sky and finding objects normally invisble to me. Long live Earth Hour!