Throughout my life I have been privileged to be treated to one of the most marvelous natural spectacles human being can witness.
Our yard in Nashville, just about an acre and a half, was essentially a dark- and deep-sky preserve. On clear nights I could go out to front or back and see everything the celestial stage had to offer. There were meteors, anti-meteors, bolides, constellations, and if you were in the right place away from downtown, the shimmering Milky Way in all its glory. Star colors were bright and clean, from the massive orange Betelgeuse, to the hot whites and blues of Rigel and Sirius.
Because we were so fortunate to have this stellar spectacle for free and for the enjoyment of any and all who joined us outdoors some evenings, we had a telescope with which to view the planets, and I recall seeing the rings of Saturn. I think that at least once I have even caught sight of the fuzzy blur of the Andromeda Galaxy.
Keep in mind that compared to the stars, the Andromeda Galaxy, which is M31 in the Messier Catalogue, is 2.5 million light years away and the nearest galaxy to ours. The point is that our environment was pure enough to see these objects with clarity and sparkling brightness.
I am glad now, in remembering those special nights, to give my complete support to the International Dark-sky association and all the causes and programs it advocates for the health, education, and well-being of this nation. In the face of urban ugliness, blight and sprawl, poorly planned lighting and too much artificial lighting at that, IDA needs all the support we can give to such programs.
Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, © 2004 – 2011, Nashville and Chicago. Please e-mail the Author at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission to use any parts of these blogs or illustrations contained therein. Thank you.