Stars Above, Earth Below: Appreciating Dark Skies
Posted By Emily Lakdawalla
2007/07/27 12:47 CDT
Tyler Nordgren just sent me a new "Stars Above, Earth Below" journal entry, as he prepares to depart for Rocky Mountain National Park. (Man, am I jealous of him for getting to do this project!) Here's a snippet from his update:
It occurred to me that as astronomers and planetary scientists my colleagues and I should be very concerned about [the loss of dark skies]. We have the privilege of doing what we love and exploring other worlds because the governments of this planet support us financially (both in paychecks and payloads). If the day comes when the last star disappears into the nighttime glow, and the last person stops looking up because they have forgotten there is a universe out there beyond the atmosphere, how long will the public continue to support our exploration or feel that it has any personal relevance to their lives?And here is a very striking illustration of what he is talking about. At the top is the sky over Joshua Tree, near my own very light-polluted hometown; at the bottom, Natural Bridges, where the brightest feature visible in the sky on a Moonless night is the center of the galaxy! Also, while I'm pointing to other places, check out the 13th carnival of space!