Monday, September 11, 2006

Not So Starry Nights Now Adays

When I was a kid I loved star gazing. My brothers and I would take a telescope into the backyard and spend hours looking into the night sky. Currently I take some time most evenings to meditate outside. I've noticed that there aren't as many stars as there were in my youth and what is there are not as bright. Now, my eyeballs are 45 years older but I don't think that's it. There is a not-at-all-subtle glow on the horizon (San Diego City) that was not there when I was young. The visual noise of urban lights are obscuring nature's glory and we are all the worse for that.


New Years Afternoon said...

Here's a news story about respect for the dark

Pennsylvania's state park system designated Cherry Springs as a "dark sky" park, one of a small but growing number of parks around the country dedicated to preserving the night sky and offering stargazers a place to view the heavens with as little interference from man-made light pollution as possible.

At 50 miles northwest of Williamsport, the nearest city of any size, the Potter County park fits the bill. No streetlights illuminate the road. Visitors wrap flashlights in red plastic wrap to prevent blinding themselves and others. Drivers must turn off their headlights before turning into the viewing area. Most stargazers bring telescopes, and many are willing to let other visitors take a look if they don't have their own.

AP story this version

Anonymous said...

For more information, here is an International Dark Sky Association.

Turns out that the lighting that preserves dark skies, or allows their return, is better than the glaring sodium vapor lights, better meaning more effective and cheaper to operate.

Of course, the light scattering from the haze caused by hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles and their exhaust, is another problem.

But, that will disappear in due course -- when the oil economy ends.