EYES TO THE SKY
September 16 – 29, 2019
Protect the night. It is good for you
As the Sun’s arc shortens in the skies of Earth’s northern hemisphere, we approach equal day and night.
Soon after the autumnal equinox, which occurs on September 23 this year, darkness expands over daylight. We will see more of the distant stars in our galaxy than our own star, the Sun. Through the long nights we might imagine that many of the stars in our skies are suns that light and warm other planets, making life possible. When we pause to think cosmically, we awake to boundless amazement at the existence of planet Earth, the precision and beauty of our home planet’s functioning.
How does each of us contribute to protecting the health of our planetary home in the cosmos? Human health – physical and mental – derives from healthy environments. Our concern in Eyes to the Sky is with what has been described as Earth’s largest habitat, the sky. A clear blue sky lifts our mood. We all recognize and decry air pollution, often seen as a band of smog around the horizon of an otherwise blue sky. Air pollution is not only disfiguring, it is a health hazard. Likewise, the haze that more or less obliterates – especially in towns and cities – what would be a clear, awe-inspiring, star-filled sky at night, is slow to be recognized for what it is, a smog of light pollution. Light pollution has been discovered to be as hazardous to our physical and mental health as other toxins. It is also within our reach to clean it up.
Is the Evening Sky Doomed? Light pollution is threatening our ability to see the cosmos. NY Times
It begins with, “The lights we use to illuminate our cities and suburbs don’t just shine on our sidewalks and streets; they also shine up into the sky, where they bounce around in the atmosphere, creating a smog of light. That featureless glow of our nocturnal skies is called “light pollution.”
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