Stargazing in darkened cities, both real and imagined

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I grew up thinking the star chart in my astronomy book was way too optimistic, full of stars I actually couldn’t see, until I left my urban/suburban sprawl and saw a night sky without the interference of LP. The Dark Sky Association (sounds like an underworld org in an RPG) has as you can imagine lots of info on LP (like places where you can find a dark sky), as well as some citizen science opportunities for measuring light pollution:

Unfortunately, it can be that only after disasters that people see the night sky. After an earthquake in 1994 knocked out power in LA, people apparently called 911 to report what turned out to be the Milky Way? (mentioned in this NIH article about LP effects, but source not cited, thus the ?):


Not a sunrise, but a galaxyrise.

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I was in LA for the Northridge Quake in '94, in one of the hardest-hit Valley neighborhoods. Neighbors insisted I had to come out and look at the damage, since they were worried the building might collapse.

So I excavated the collapsed bookshelves blocking the doorway, and went downstairs.

I only glanced briefly at the building damage (dramatic, but only cosmetic, not structural) before I paused, wonderstruck, and stood staring at the star-studded sky.

The neighbors thought I was nuts. (-:

Wasn’t the best seeing ever - a lot of dust in the air - but for LA, it was glorious.

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