Check out this amazing time-lapse video of the Milky Way over Michigan's Tahquamenon Falls! Thanks to dark sky regulations, hundreds of cities around the world are improving their views of the night sky.
Doomsday or Dark Sky?
Imagine it’s 1994, and you are a resident of Los Angeles, California. The Northridge earthquake has come and gone, and thankfully everyone is alright. You note, however, that the city lights have gone out; the earthquake has taken down the power grid. Relieved that everyone is safe, you step outside to assess the damage to your neighborhood in the pitch black.
It’s at this moment that you freeze. Are your eyes deceiving you? Your mind races as you panic. There is a massive, eerie, giant, silvery cloud overhead. Frantic, you pick up the phone to call in to the Griffith Observatory. “Help!” you cry.
The voice from the other end, calm and understanding, replies in an even-tone: “It’s alright, ma’am. That’s the Milky Way.”
Such is the effect of light pollution. It’s so pervasive, so established that thousands of L.A. residents had never seen the Milky Way, and they defaulted to panic instead of awe.
Imagine a world where we forget the vast, freckled night skies. Our posterity deserves to see the galaxies, to wish on shooting stars, to lie on their backs and count as many as they can, knowing they’ll never count them all.
My dad considered this call-to-action, and took it to heart. In 2014, my father purchased a small, third-party lighting distribution company called Starry Night Lights. Dad wants to make sure the stars are visible for centuries more. The goal of Starry Night Lights is to offer lighting that is dark-sky friendly. All outdoor lighting products offered on our site cast light downward. These lights are designed to keep our skies dark.
When I think about dark skies close to home, I am so proud to know that Flagstaff is leading the charge against light pollution. Flagstaff, AZ, became the world’s first “International Dark Sky City” in October 2001. Flagstaff passed quality outdoor lighting ordinances, and strives to be an example for neighboring communities.
If you are interested in combating light pollution, consider contacting your local government, signing petitions, and educating your community on dark sky. Here are some great resources if you’d like to read more about dark sky:
11/1/15 - Recently, a customer in Connecticut was asking me about the impact of light pollution on fireflies. She noted, growing up fireflies were plentiful, but that her 8 year old had never seen one. I thought back, and the last time I personally saw fireflies was in 2009 in Andover, MA when visiting with the group of best friends from college.
The customer noted that she read somewhere that light pollution was one of the causes, and she felt that the practice of using insecticides on mosquitoes to prevent the spread of West Nile virus was taking its toll also.
Anyone out there have some insight into this phenomenon ? I'd hate to think that we are so selfish that we wouldn't reduce the amount of light we generate outside our homes to allow the next generations of children to love sitting outside and marveling at the blinking fireflies.
Any thoughts or knowledge in this area so we can help spread the word and start to reverse the disappearance of these fun little insects ?