Episode 083 – Bettymaya Foott | Astrophotographer, Dark Sky enthusiast, & Director of Engagement at International Dark-Sky Association
Bettymaya Foott is an astrophotographer and a dark sky enthusiast. As the Director of Engagement at the International Dark-Sky Association, she has been instrumental in spreading the message of saving the stars!
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Bettymaya also founded an Instagram page called Women in Astrophotography to encourage and empower women who are passionate about astrophotography, to be comfortable under the night skies.
Listen to her journey from stargazing on a trampoline as a kid and studying about environment and sustainability, to now capturing the beauty of our night skies and helping preserve dark skies around the world.
Bettymaya is fluent in Spanish. She loves camping and river rafting trips, among other outdoor adventures.
You can reach her for private online workshops on astrophotography, and tours across Moab.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that protects our dark skies from light pollution. Based out of Tucson, Arizona in the USA, it’s a global authority on night skies and light pollution.
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IDA recognises dark sky places across the world under several categories such as International Dark Sky Reserves, International Dark Sky Sanctuaries, International Dark Sky Parks, International Dark Sky Communities, and Urban Night Sky Places. You can refer to each of these designations of destinations, and also nominate a place for dark sky certification here>>
Feel free to refer to an extensive resource on light pollution, dark skies, and related subjects here>>
Explore this interactive map that showcases certified International Dark Sky Places
Consider being part of preserving the night skies in your own way, by becoming a member, an advocate, a delegate, or joining an IDA chapter near you. Understand how you can get involved>>
Also, as an individual, you can adopt smart dark sky friendly lighting solutions in your daily usage, and also encourage your local communities to take action. Read all about it here>>
Our night sky is a shared heritage for all life on earth. This needs to be conserved to enjoy and explore the wonders of the universe.
Know more about light pollution and how it affects our health, wildlife, and the world’s diverse ecosystems.
Also mentioned on this episode
Adam Dalton – Airglow – Amanda Gormley – Annamarie Schaecher – Annette Lee – Antarctica – Arches National Park – Association of Friends of Astronomy, Goa – Astronomical observatories in Antarctica – Astrophotography – Astrostays – Atacama Desert – Audubon, NY – Aurora Borealis – Bangalore – Canyonlands National Park – Colorado Plateau Dark Sky Cooperative – Dark & Quiet Skies for Science & Society Conference – David Blaine – Deep Anand – Delhi – Delicate Arch – Dinosaur – DJI Osmo Pocket – East Canyon State Park – Effects of light pollution on wildlife – Elon Musk – Four Corners – Gates of Lodore – Glare – Goa – Guatemala – Halley’s Comet – Hanle – Illuminating Engineering Society – International Dark-Sky Week – Intervalometer – Jeff Bezos – John Barentine – Johnny Harris – Ladakh – Lauren Scorzafava – Leonardo DiCaprio – Light trespassing – Mauna Kea Observatories – Megan Eaves – Milky Way – Moab – Moment Factory – NASA – NEOWISE Comet – New Zealand – Nightscape photography – Oprah Winfrey – Orion – Pentagon UFO story – Pete Strasser – Red Fleet State Park – Richard Branson – Rufus – Ruskin Hartley – Salt Lake City – Save Our Stars – Skyglow – Southern hemisphere astrophotography – South Pole Telescope – SpaceX – Starlink – Star Galaxy Discovery – Sun photography – Susan Ciarniello – The City Dark – Tribute in Light – United Nations – United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs – University of Utah – Utah – Utah State Parks – Venus – Vox Borders
Timestamps for reference
04:15 David Blaine Ascension
05:00 What is light pollution?
06:43 Engaging people to protect our night skies
07:43 International Dark-Sky Places program
08:47 Four different categories
09:58 Requirements to consider for a dark sky destination
10:19 Goal of the International Dark Sky Association
11:33 How can we as global citizens be part of protecting our dark skies?
16:01 How did I stumble upon dark sky reserves
21:39 Appreciating the night skies, and the human connection
28:08 Conservation is a first world problem
31:35 Astrotourism in Ladakh
33:11 Chapters and opportunities for engagement with the IDA
39:13 What is the International Dark-Sky Association?
40:18 The current team at IDA
43:34 How did Bettymaya gravitate toward the IDA?
46:22 Awareness about light pollution through popular media and education systems
48:34 Space explorations and experiencing the night skies from earth
50:17 Events and initiatives by IDA
52:21 Association of Friends of Astronomy Goa
53:24 Learning from indigenous communities about our night skies
59:41 Humans are nature
01:01:12 Light installations vs light pollution
01:04:05 How did Bettymaya start with astrophotography?
01:06:45 Learning curve for astrophotography
01:13:31 Being outdoors to capture a decent photograph of the night skies
01:17:30 Bettymaya’s most dramatic destination for astrophotography, and her celestial subjects
01:22:00 Women in Astro
01:23:16 Can astrophotography include capturing the skies during the day?
01:24:11 Opinions about astrology as an astrophotographer
01:26:01 Influence of growing up in a dramatic destination such as Moab
01:28:12 Bettymaya’s other interests in the outdoors
01:35:20 Contacts to reach IDA and Bettymaya
Show cover jingle courtesy of Icons8
Music by Nordgroove from Fugue
Episode background tunes courtesy of YouTube Audio Library
A Quiet Thought by Wayne Jones
Nebular Focus by Dan Henig
On Foot by Underbelly & Ty Mayer
Orbit by Corbyn Kites
Touch Tone by The Mini Vandals
All photographs by Bettymaya Foott, & the International Dark-Sky Association, unless otherwise stated.