Experience the Night Sky before it is too late
I recently took a trip to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon and I also went on two different occasions to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. On one of my visits to the Lowell Observatory it was night. They had a special program on the night sky with telescopes and guided constellation tours.
I was shocked by how deep and rich the night sky in Arizona was. It was beautiful. The stars were exceptionally bright and the Milky Way was extremely rich. Living in New England I had never seen a sky that dark and rich.
I attributed it to Arizona and the altitude. But, I didn't at first realize another factor: Light Pollution. There is significantly less light pollution in Arizona than there is in New England. And the difference was markedly noticeable. And to top it all off Flagstaff is an official dark sky city!
The International Dark Sky Association is an organization that is actively involved in preserving dark skies. And they have a rigorous set of standards for certifying a city as an official Dark Sky City. This includes a lot of things including robust community rules, actions and procedures for insuring dark skies. Well... Flagstaff Arizona is an official dark sky city. And it makes a significant difference.
You can learn more about the International Dark Sky Association here
In Arthur C. Clarke's story "The Nine Billion Names of God" it ends with the stars going out. It's an apocalyptic tale of warning. And we are now experiencing the same thing except in a different way. It isn't happening as quickly but it is happening. The stars are going out.
Here is a NASA satellite view of the Eastern half of the United States at night. All that brightness is artificial lighting.
So what do you do?
Well, I am not exactly sure but I do know this.... Every year the sky gets worse. So, if you are putting off enjoying the night sky you should put it off no more! Get my book and start your adventure in the night skies no matter where you live.
See It with a Small Telescope: 101 Cosmic Wonders Including Planets, Moons, Comets, Galaxies, Nebulae, Star Clusters and More
It doesn't take an astronomy degree to feel like an astronaut and explore space with a small telescope. See It with a Small Telescope takes the mystery and struggle out of exploring the unknown and discovering new worlds! With hands-on tips and tricks, this book offers a complete guide to unleashing the full power of a small telescope and going beyond the basics.
Without technical jargon and complicated star charts, this book offers step-by-step instructions and easy-to-use illustrations for finding over 100 celestial objects in the night's sky, including:
- Saturn's Rings
- Jupiter's Moons
- The Orion Nebula
- The Andromeda Galaxy
- Polaris Double Star
- Pegasus Globular Cluster
- Apollo 11 Site
- and more...
Books in the vein of night skies and light pollution:
The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light
At Day's Close: Night in Times Past
Let There be Night: Testimony on behalf of the Dark
Waking up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age
Fighting Light Pollution: Smart Lighting Solutions
The Soul of the Night: An Astronomical Pilgrimage
Evening's Empire: A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe