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View Full Version : The Bad Bad Night Sky -- World View



ljbrs
2001-Dec-10, 01:48 AM
While NASA has been putting up wonderful observatories to view the sky, most of us live in locations where viewing the night sky is almost an impossibility. If you have never seen the Milky Way blazing away in its splendor, you would never understand the frustration of looking up at the paultry views most of us city folks must endure.

I am certain that almost everybody has seen some of these photographs. However, just to make certain that you do not misunderstand the problem, go to Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) to view the world's light pollution which probably includes your viewing area.

Go to:


Earth at Night (APOD)

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap001127.html


Artificial Night Sky Brightness

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010827.html

============

If all of the lights in the world were shielded so that the light goes downward towards the ground rather than upward into the sky, everybody would be amazed at the sky they have been missing all of this time. I will look for sites which show the Milky Way in all of its glory, so that you can see what you are missing.

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_mad.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cry.gif

David Simmons
2001-Dec-10, 02:05 AM
On 2001-12-09 20:48, ljbrs wrote:

I will look for sites which show the Milky Way in all of its glory, so that you can see what you are missing.



Sometime when you are on a trip make an opportunity to stay in a small desert town overnight, take the time to drive out into the country and look up at the night sky.

ljbrs
2001-Dec-10, 02:17 AM
Here are some of the sites we are missing:

Moonlight, Mars, and Milky Way

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap010627.html


The Milky Way Near the Southern Cross

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap000618.html


Our Galaxy in Stars, Gas and Dust

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap990927.html


Of course, these are professional astronomy photographs, but you can get some of the idea from them. There are more APOD photographs, at the same site where I got these.

I remember viewing the Milky Way in all of its splendor when I was three years old (to the point of remembering it in detail. I never forgot it. Now, I shall not tell you what year that was in.

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ljbrs
2001-Dec-10, 02:31 AM
Sometime when you are on a trip make an opportunity to stay in a small desert town overnight, take the time to drive out into the country and look up at the night sky.


Getting away from my job becomes very difficult. Whenever I leave, coming home becomes a nightmare in the amount of work which has piled up for me. I miss so very much because of that.

At my club's observatory, we see the Milky Way as a dark cloud graced by some of the stars. However, the light pollution is slowly ruining the site. Our State Legislature (House) will be voting this coming Tuesday on having a certain area (Lake Hudson) named as an official dark sky site. If the bill loses, we all lose.

I have been a member of International Dark Sky Association (IDA) for years. If only the public would learn that criminals like to have lighting so that they can do their dirty work unnoticed. If it were completely dark at night, everybody would see the criminals' flashlights and the jig would be up for them.

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Hale_Bopp
2001-Dec-10, 02:50 AM
I went to Yellowstone a few years ago and was excited to see a dark night sky since I knew the moon was near new. I went out shortly after twilight and looked up and the sky was awash with light! Stars below about fourth magnitude were drowned out.

Boy, was I ticked and couldn't figure out what could be so bright around there. After getting my bearings, I realized that I was facing north and seeing a rather spectacular aurora extending up about 50 degrees from the northern horizon.

Rob

Mr. X
2001-Dec-10, 03:55 AM
If only the public would learn that criminals like to have lighting so that they can do their dirty work unnoticed. If it were completely dark at night, everybody would see the criminals' flashlights and the jig would be up for them.

Uh... right. Well ya ain't seen nothin' here aight mister? Nicky, Legs, let's move. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif

Nice picture (the first one). Look how Japan is illuminated! Look at Europe! Then look at Siberia!

You can actually see populated areas (or people that have electricity anyway). Not many people in the Andes!

Funny thing, look east (right) of tierra del fuego! One little light on that island! Wonder what they're doing there! (Mafia flashlights! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif )

The Curtmudgeon
2001-Dec-10, 07:29 PM
Like Hale-Bopp above, I got the opportunity a few years back to go camping in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I spent almost one entire night in YS with my head outside my tent looking up, with a *very* small flashlight and one of those pocket guides to the stars books beside me, to check on unfamiliar objects.

As a youngster, I could do much the same when we'd visit the kinfolk out in West Texas (home of the expression, "Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles"). Unfortunately, most of them are now gone, in one sense or the other, and I don't get to visit out there as often.

The ("where the skies are not cloudy all day") Curtmudgeon

ToSeek
2001-Dec-10, 08:19 PM
My mother-in-law has a cabin in the Poconos. The view from there is stunning, particularly for someone like me who lives between Washington and Baltimore.

GrapesOfWrath
2001-Dec-10, 08:22 PM
I grew up in Cody, WY, about fifty miles from the east gate of Yellowstone Park. It's incredibly dark, at times.

Here is an observatory at the Cody MS (http://www.wavecom.net/~addams/observatory.html). They didn't have anything like that there when I grew up.

Mr. X
2001-Dec-10, 09:12 PM
Since I live in the middle of nowhere the sky is mostly very dark. If I wanted it darker about 15 minutes of car does it. If I wanted it EXTREMELY dark, 30 minutes does it, and farther the sun doesn't rise for months at a time. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif Well it's not THAT dark around here, we make too much electricity dammit!

Hey, I still managed to have a cable modem (laughably slow by american standards, about 300-400k/s max dl speed although it can go higher if I download from the company website, but since there's nothing there...) but still... Pretty good pings though... at times. Since this isn't a gaming forum and you people most certainly aren't action online gamers (That thought makes me want to laugh out loud and chortle, dance around and jump /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif ) and Counter-Strike probably sound to you like a bad Stallone movie I'll spare you the gaming mumbo-jumbo! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Lisa
2001-Dec-11, 12:06 AM
Even though at times its sort of a pain living in the middle of nowhere, I forget all the inconveniences on a clear night. On a clear night, I can see the milky way by merely walking outside and looking up. When I visited my brother in Dallas, I had to describe to my nieces what the milky way even looked like. My brother, a former Marine, says the best place to star gaze is in the middle of the ocean. He was pulling mid watch during an exercise, and the ship was running without lights. Pretty hard to concentrate on the task at hand when he spent almost his entire watch looking up.
Lisa

ljbrs
2001-Dec-11, 01:35 AM
Now, all of you who have such wonderful skies cannot possibly realize how lucky you all are. After all, beautiful night skies for you lucky dogs are just same ol', same ol'. Don't you often miss the grandeur of the brightly lit gas stations such as the ones near where I live. Don't you all feel guilty to have such rapture whenever you look up. When you think about all of us city peons without a clue of what is up there, do not gloat. The bright lights of the city have their own glamour, even though at the moment I cannot think of what that could be...

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DStahl
2001-Dec-11, 05:46 AM
ljbrs, I sympathize. In Eugene I can't see the Milky Way but in a few hours I can be at 6000 feet in a Cascades wilderness area, and in one hour I can be on the edge of the Pacific. So I'm very lucky. On the other hand, it's never clear enough to see the Leonids. Perseids, yes, but not the autumn or winter meteors.

ljbrs
2001-Dec-17, 12:10 AM
Wonderful, you lucky dogs!

Some day, some day...

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David Simmons
2001-Dec-17, 12:48 AM
On 2001-12-10 20:35, ljbrs wrote:
Don't you all feel guilty to have such rapture whenever you look up.



Not a bit.

ljbrs
2001-Dec-17, 01:23 AM
Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


On 2001-12-10 20:35, ljbrs wrote:
Don't you all feel guilty to have such rapture whenever you look up.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Not a bit.



Animal!!

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Argos
2001-Dec-21, 11:30 AM
I have a wonderful place to look to the sky here in south america, when it's not polluted by clouds, six months a year...

ljbrs
2001-Dec-23, 10:17 PM
I have a wonderful place to look to the sky here in south america, when it's not polluted by clouds, six months a year...


Argos:

At least, you get to see the splendid sky once in awhile. I am left with memories--only memories. The Milky Way looks like a dark shadow at the best dark site nearby (25 miles from where I live). Enjoy what gifts you have. There are none here. I have decided that I should become a part-time meteorologist.

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One Day More
2004-May-31, 08:24 AM
If you want to see some spectacular starry nights, come to New Zealand-there are some simply breath taking areas where you can see the night sky blaze in all its glory. My favourite area would be Marahau-a small villiage area in the Tasman District. Or Golden Bay.
But don't think NZ has no cities-we sure have them! I live in a part of Dunedin called Green Island, and my gosh, you sure get some beautiful night views out there. When it is not as cloudy as usual :)

Rahman
2004-Jun-02, 12:11 AM
Back when I was a kid in Kashmir; the sky looked great .. you could see the milky way and stars and the sky was completely dark. The closest place that had electricity was about 10 km away. But now i live in downtown ottawa and I can hardly see stars that are 4th magnitude from here. :roll:

01101001
2004-Jun-02, 12:32 AM
Has the story been told in BABB -- I didn't find it -- of the Los Angelenos who got their first real look at the night sky when the Northridge Earthquake knocked out power?


Standing outside in total darkness for the first time in memory, hundreds of thousands of people saw a sky untarnished by city lights. That night and over the next few weeks, emergency organizations as well as observatories in the L.A. area recieved hundreds of calls from people wonder whether the sudden brightening of the stars and the appearance of a "silver cloud" (the Milky Way) had caused the quake.

According to Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, many of the anxious callers were reluctant to believe that what they had seen while the power was off was the normal appearance of the real night sky.
From http://www.parasitic.org/archives/000026.html, excerpting Terence Dickinson's Nightwatch.

(Edit: That link has died. A more viable one is Space.com: Simple Stargazing: Explore the Milky Way (http://www.space.com/spacewatch/040813_milky_way.html): "In the days and weeks that followed, radio stations and observatories in the Los Angeles area received countless phone calls from concerned people who wondered whether the sudden brightening of the stars and the appearance of an eerie silvery cloud (the Milky Way) might have caused the quake." See article in topic STS-126 Shuttle Mission (http://www.bautforum.com/space-exploration/79545-sts-126-shuttle-mission-7.html#post1379749).)

Dgennero
2004-Jun-02, 04:17 AM
At least if you leave 10 miles or more between the light pollution of Key West, and 50 miles between yourself and Miami, the Florida Keys sport a good night sky - I have rent a small property on Big Coppitt (2,500 sleepy inhabitants) that fullfills the requirements - of course you are at sea level, but on the other hand, you have the sea as your horizon and no problem to see, say, the Southern Cross.

Alcoraiden
2004-Jun-02, 04:42 AM
I agree, the Keys are good for staring at the sky if you're in the right spot. It's too bad I didn't spot the Southern Cross any of the times I've been there. I don't live there, but where I do live, I'm in the suburbs, where I have one streetlight in my area, and no city around me. The streetlight is behind my house, so I can stand out on our dock and stare at the sky and get a great view.

TrAI
2004-Jun-02, 08:14 AM
...
If all of the lights in the world were shielded so that the light goes downward towards the ground rather than upward into the sky, everybody would be amazed at the sky they have been missing all of this time. I will look for sites which show the Milky Way in all of its glory, so that you can see what you are missing.

ljbrs <IMG SRC="/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif"> <IMG SRC="/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_mad.gif"> <IMG SRC="/phpBB/images/smiles/icon_cry.gif">


Shielded? I don't understand how you would do that, make all streets tunnels?. Almost all streetlight and such I have seen have reflectors, and does not send any light upwards, but the light is reflected of the ground, so one still get light pollution in dense areas...

orangeSCT
2004-Jun-02, 03:29 PM
Shielded meaning no light source extending below a top reflector. Please visit http://www.darksky.org and see the section labled "good light fixtures" for an example. Decorative street lights and commercial lighting directs a very large amout of light needlessly into the night sky. Next time you are out and about at night take a close look you will be surprized. Sure you still get some reflected light back up into the sky, but this is only a very small fraction of the intensity of the origional light.