Thursday, August 21, 2014

Night Sky

Summer is a great time to watch the night sky. Sure, you have to stay up later and wait for the stars to reveal themselves, but it's warm and inviting out there, and maybe you are lucky enough to have a dock to lie on, or a nice big grassy field.

One of the things on my summer list this year is "watch a meteor shower". We just had one with the Leonids in early August, but it was rainy and overcast where I am, so I didn't get a chance to look for any shooting stars.

I remember one night camping with my mom, years ago, and she told me that I couldn't go to bed until we saw a shooting star. Yes, I do have the most amazing mom in the world. And yes, we did see one or two that night.

One of the books I'm reading right now is The End of Night by Paul Bogard. He grew up in Minnesota, and still has a cabin on a lake somewhere up here. Having the stars so close it seems like you can touch them is something that stays with you even as you grow up and move to the bright lights of city nights.

I try to get outside the ring of light that seems to grow wider every year, and experience the joy of standing under the Milky Way. It's really the only way to see where are in the universe, and maybe where we are going.

Check out:
The End of Night on Amazon

And think about where it was that you had your first or best glimpse of the amazing garland of light that surrounds our world from millions of miles away.

While you're at it, check out this documentary as well, featuring Neil DeGrasse Tyson:
The City Dark 

Maybe it will bug you to know how much you're missing every night, or maybe it will inspire you to become evangelical about preventing light pollution.


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