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Fountain Hills designated Arizona’s fourth Dark Sky community

(Flickr Photo/Stephen Rahn)

PHOENIX — People in Fountain Hills are able to see the stars a little better. Thanks to that, the city was designated as Arizona’s fourth Dark Sky community this week.

The Phoenix suburb is one of just 16 cities in the world to receive the designation. The Fountain Hills Times reported the city was only the second to be located next to a major metropolitan area.

Dark Sky cities only use light fixtures that shield the actual bulb. The city does not allow bright white lights — LED or otherwise — and instead requires the use of warm lighting.

“You don’t need to have light that isn’t shielded,” Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association co-chair Joe Bill told KJZZ. “It really basically obscures the sky so you can’t see the stars that some of us enjoyed growing up.”

Residents are also asked to not let lights shine on neighbors’ properties and to only use as much outdoor lighting as needed.

Because of the policy, the International Dark Sky Association — which hands out the designations — said Fountain Hills residents will likely be able to catch the occasional glimpse of the Milky Way galaxy from their own backyard.

The association said Fountain Hills began to make changes to its lighting policies two years ago.

The three other Dark Sky communities in Arizona — Oak Creek, Sedona and Flagstaff — are all located in the northern part of the state.

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