Losing Our View of the Stars

The promising shine cast by the “light pollution” of our ever-growing cities may snuff out future generations’ view of the stars.

Starry Night Over The Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh

“The study says a truly dark, starry sky is unavailable to two-thirds of the world’s population, including 99 percent of people in the continental United States and Western Europe. The survey, conducted by scientists at the University of Padua, Italy, and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, measured for the first time how light degrades the view of the stars in specific places around the globe.

The report describes regions of the world where true night never occurs because it is blocked by lights from neighboring cities and towns. ” – CNN.com

Although by no means a new idea, the potential of this loss to our children’s children struck me when I came across this info in a late-night web haunt session. The idea that those faraway lights that I spent so many nights gazing up at with close companions and camping buddies, wondering up at through holes in the clouds by the ocean, could be something that new beings on the earth might only glimpse in archived footage was pretty dismal.

These are skies that our forefathers and foremothers used to find their way in the dark, to find hope in darkest times and even now we look upon an almost unchanged celestial map.

Pier 49 on the Hudson River is now the sight of a solemn homage to our loyal friends, in solar-powered LED lights perched upon wooden pillars that mirror constellations.

Image from The Scout Blog

http://thescoutmag.com/blog/newyork/1169/reflecting_the_stars

Hopefully in the future this won’t be the only way to view Orion’s Belt or the Seven Sisters.

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