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!

See her website
Follow her on Instagram
Like her Facebook page
Connect with her on LinkedIn

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.

See their website
Follow their Instagram
Like their Facebook page
Chat with them on Twitter

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 DaltonAirglowAmanda GormleyAnnamarie SchaecherAnnette LeeAntarcticaArches National ParkAssociation of Friends of Astronomy, Goa – Astronomical observatories in Antarctica – AstrophotographyAstrostaysAtacama DesertAudubon, NY  – Aurora Borealis – Bangalore – Canyonlands National ParkColorado Plateau Dark Sky CooperativeDark & Quiet Skies for Science & Society ConferenceDavid Blaine – Deep Anand – Delhi – Delicate ArchDinosaurDJI Osmo PocketEast Canyon State ParkEffects of light pollution on wildlifeElon MuskFour CornersGates of Lodore – Glare – GoaGuatemalaHalley’s CometHanleIlluminating Engineering SocietyInternational Dark-Sky WeekIntervalometerJeff BezosJohn BarentineJohnny HarrisLadakhLauren ScorzafavaLeonardo DiCaprioLight trespassingMauna Kea ObservatoriesMegan EavesMilky WayMoabMoment FactoryNASANEOWISE CometNew ZealandNightscape photographyOprah WinfreyOrionPentagon UFO storyPete StrasserRed Fleet State ParkRichard Branson – Rufus – Ruskin HartleySalt Lake CitySave Our StarsSkyglowSouthern hemisphere astrophotographySouth Pole TelescopeSpaceXStarlinkStar Galaxy DiscoverySun photographySusan CiarnielloThe City DarkTribute in LightUnited NationsUnited Nations Office for Outer Space AffairsUniversity of UtahUtahUtah State ParksVenusVox 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

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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.

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