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View Diary: Overnight News Digest 11/22/2013 (31 comments)

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  •  Light Pollution (11+ / 0-)

    Seattle Times: Things are not looking up for dark-sky watchers

    Somewhere along the way, we the people stopped looking up. This is why Dave Ingram can’t tell the Albertson’s story without breaking down.


    “You can put anybody — I don’t care who they are — out under the stars for 30 minutes, and they start asking the big questions,” Ingram says. “Where else does that happen? You don’t ask big questions in a restaurant.”

    But it’s more complicated than that. Even the small handful of people savvy, or just lucky, enough to realize this eventually walk outside, look up and find to their horror that the night sky — not that greenish-gray thing that passes for dark in Seattle, Bellevue, Portland or Vancouver, B.C., but the profoundly ink-black, soul-bending, take-my-left-ear-but-leave-me-the-Starry-Starry-Night sky — simply is no more.

    For most of us today, it’s about 3½ feet. That’s our predominant personal universe; the distance between the top of our heads and the ceiling.


    The Northwest falls right in line. A look at our home turf on a “dark sky finder” map of the U.S. — based on data now more than a decade old — is revealing: A broad swath of the most-intense form of light pollution stretches along the Interstate 5 corridor from Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma, north to Marysville. Less-intense light pollution — still debilitating for naked-eye sky views —- forms a massive halo from Centralia north to Vancouver, B.C.


    Light pollution is the new normal in most of the developed world, says Paul Bogard, author of “The End of Night,” a new treatise on the problem and its solutions. Serious star aficionados, he says, find it easier to board a plane for Hawaii or Australia than engage in the crapshoot science of finding dark skies anywhere near their homes.

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