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October 21, 2013 at 4:30 am #142080Kol DrakeModerator
In 1996, scientists took a huge risk when they pointed the Hubble telescope to an inky field that they believed to be void of stars and planets. As images from Hubble are in constant demand, the worry was that devoting so much time to a black space would prove futile. Once the photons finally registered, though, that leap of faith proved fruitful: light from over three thousand galaxies illuminated the image. A few years and missions later, Hubble’s glimpse into what is known as the deep field has revealed that we are just one tiny part of a vast Universe comprising 100 billion galaxies.
.[video width=425 height=344 type=youtube]oAVjF_7ensg[/video]
Normally, about 2,500 individual stars are visible to the human eye without using any special equipment. But because of light pollution, you actually see just 200 to 300 from today’s suburbs, and fewer than a dozen from a typical city. Only one in three Americans can see our own galaxy, the dazzling Milky Way, with the naked eye. Those people live far away from the lights of big cities, office buildings, and shopping malls.
Imagine the time before electricity — going out on a crisp, clear Fall night — the blackness complete and being able to have the surroundings almost lit up ‘just’ by the spread of the Milky Way above you. And even then, you are still only seeing the tiniest fraction of the stars and galaxies spoken of in this video!October 21, 2013 at 11:40 pm #176999TaijibumParticipant
I grew up in the country back in the 1970’s and I miss those clear stars and seeing the Milky Way.November 26, 2013 at 3:04 pm #177424AnidemParticipant
There is a growing movement of not only night sky watchers but environmentalists that are raising their voices about the amount of light pollution. Some cities have even done token self imposed black outs to give its people a chance to see the natural night sky. Only by raising our voices for your city to install better lighting systems that aim the light to where it is needed instead of casting light everywhere and encouraging our neighbors to control unnecessary light usage such as keeping the porch light on all night.
Having been out to sea and had the pleasure of seeing the night sky with no lights for hundreds of miles, it is my hope that everyone will be able to walk outside of their home and have that same view I did.November 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm #177425JaxKeymaster
I bet that was amazing! The darkest skies I saw were at jazz camp. We’d sit out in the field for hours just gazing at the sky. Those were great days!November 26, 2013 at 3:37 pm #177427AnidemParticipant
It was pretty nice. I did that as often as I could knowing that I wouldn’t get a view like that again for some time. My next big stellar event I am planning for is the total solar eclipse on Aug21 2017. Anyone in North America should make a serious effort to see it.November 27, 2013 at 4:32 am #177430Brandel ValicoParticipant
One of the many upsides to living in Michigan. http://www.emmetcounty.org/darkskypark/November 27, 2013 at 3:41 pm #177433JaxKeymaster
nice!December 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm #177608MemnoichParticipant
This is why I love where I’m at. I’m about 20 mins outside of town with hills between us and town, they block the light pretty good, Id say a light level of about 3, now if I head up to my parents cabin in the mountains, put it down to a level of 0-1. its the nice thing about mountains, if you strategically place yourself, you can still be close to town/the city, but still get peace and quiet.December 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm #177609JaxKeymaster
And I’ve noticed since moving to Colorado the stars are so much brighter, thanks to having a mile less of atmosphere! I look forward to getting out away from all the lights and enjoying the sky.December 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm #177610MorrakoParticipant
The stars are so good there…. the midwest has some great, great views at night. I enjoy it everytime I head that way. I even have secret locations where the common folk/muggles (lol jk) don’t tread.
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