I read stories like this one and it just makes me sad. 99 percent of the people in the continental United States and Europe can’t look up and see a truly dark sky. They can’t see the Milky Way, because it’s too damn light outside.
I remember when my dad and I used to bundle up in our warmest clothes and go down to the tennis courts behind our house in the winter to lie on the ground and look at the stars. I saw the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Orion Nebula, and memorized many of the winter constellations. I learned star names like Rigel, Betelguese, Castor, Pollux, Capella, Aldebaran, Sirius, and Procyon, and knew where to find them all. I could spot Orion’s belt in a heartbeat. In the summers when we visited the farm where it was darker, I could spot the milky way stretching from horizon to horizon. I watched the Big Dipper and Casseopeia rotate around Polaris, saw the great square, picked out Vega, Deneb, and Antares, and discovered my favorite constellation of all — Scorpio.
Granted, one of the reasons I was so interested in learning all this astronomy was because I loved the stars, and space. Still, I wish everyone knew where to find the Big Dipper, or how to pick out the bright shoulders, feet, and belt of Orion. I think most people were capable of doing that years ago; today, we’ve become accustomed to the fact that the night sky has a permanent orange tint from the streetlights and neon signs that cover our cities and highways.
I just think it’s sad.