Night Sky

What happened to the stars, the constellations in the skies? The past two weekends I sat atop a mountain at dawn and dusk waiting for the sun to rise and set. Spending all that time in the dark in the middle of a city-less glow (no urban lighting diminishing my view) I thought I would be able to see the terrestrial night sky. No stars, no shooting meteors, no blips of lights, not even a passing plane, only a black haze filled atmosphere.

What does my future-sky-viewing hold? 20 years ago sitting on my high school girlfriend’s back porch I can remember being amazed at actually seeing the dome shape of the sky. A billion stars lighting and shaping the skyline. (Yes, it was a little over a billion; I counted twice) My girlfriend lived on a farm with a golf course to the right of their home and a cemetery to the left of their home. Middle-of-nowhere type of place, where at night you could not see your hand in front of your face, type of dark. Will the Milky-Way be destined only to be a candy bar for me? Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Great Bear, Little Bear where are you in the dark sky. I wonder if that same view of sky can still be seen from that back porch?

After following a line of investigation I find out that pollution is obstructing my view of the sky. There are two types of pollution that are causing this “turning out the lights effect”: First; there is the smog from cars, factories and whatever else we individuals place into the air (see; Al Gore). Second; there is light pollution. How can light produce pollution? Ambient, illuminating light released by metropolitan areas are blocking out our celestial view. I can understand that if I am looking at the sky while standing in the middle of an urban jungle at night, but not from a mountain top where you can not even see a hint of city life. What to do? See this, this & this

The experience of nature is important to me. There is the idea that nature should not be ephemeral. Nonetheless everything keeps shifting in nature and that is why as a photographer I try to capture it.

No wonder we think we are the only creation in the universe, we can’t see what else is out there.