Night Sky

By Collin O’Mara-Green

International Dark Sky Week

“Cityscape to the Milky Way
A lot of the outdoor lighting used at night is inefficient, overly bright, poorly targeted, improperly shielded, and in many cases, completely unnecessary. This light and the electricity used to create it are being wasted because it spills into the sky rather than being focused on the objects and areas that people need illuminated.” – Darksky.org

The world is losing its night skies. An unintended consequence of the wonder of electric light is the loss of natural light from distant stars. Modern lighting has allowed us to work and live beyond the window of sunrise and sunset, and without the safety issues of candlelight. This new light can also bounce upward, where the glow of the Milky Way becomes harder to see.

To raise awareness about light pollution, International Dark Sky Week is April 22-30, 2022. It’s a good time to learn how you can help your area have darker skies, and perhaps save a few dollars on power bills.

In big cities, some kids have never seen a truly dark sky. During the Northridge earthquake in LA, it’s said, when the city went dark after the electricity grid failed altogether, people asked if the glow in the sky caused the earthquake. They were seeing the Milky Way for the first time!

I would say parts of Sierra County would qualify for official dark sky status, likely those shielded from the glare of Sacramento, Reno, Grass Valley, and now Truckee I suppose. More at the official website: https://idsw.darksky.org/

Keep lookin’ up!

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