The Stars Shine at Our Little House
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One of the first things I noticed when we moved to Our Little House was how many stars there are in the night sky here.
There’s just as many in the city of course, you just can’t see them.
I’m the type of star geek who, when I saw the movie, “Titanic,” didn’t think about how cold and terrifying it must be for the character, Rose, floating on a piece of wreckage in the middle of the Atlantic.
I was thinking about how many stars she must have been able to see in that kind of darkness in 1912 while she was lying on her back singing, “Come Josephine in my Flying Machine.”
My love for the night sky began while growing up in Turner. In the 1960s, light pollution hadn’t overtaken the night sky yet and I would sit on the patio with my parents in lounge chairs and they would point out the different shapes in the stars and of the Milky Way.
When our good friends, Mike and Charlotte came for a visit a few weeks ago, I asked them, “Did you happen to look up at the sky on your way back to the studio last night?” They gave me a strange look, “No, what was up there?” Charlotte asked.
“The stars, there’s so many of them.” I could tell I didn’t impress them. “We can’t see them in the city?” they asked.
Dale and I had just watched a documentary on the stars. We learned that there’s a rating system to measure the darkness of the night sky and there’s only two places left on earth – in one spot of the Australian outback and the middle of South Africa – that is dark enough to be able to see the exact sky Galileo saw when he was alive.
Light pollution was one of the first environmental stories I worked on before I called myself an environmental journalist. I wrote a story for a weekly in Kansas City about how a BMX racing operation wanted to build a track very close to an observatory in a small town just south of the Kansas City area.
Volunteers with the observatory argued the lights would minimalize their viewing and dust could harm their telescope.
The BMX and city won.
Last summer, we brought Dale’s sister and her family to the boat dock on the lake where we have a clearer view of the night sky (we have too many trees for a big view here). Even their tween daughter seemed charmed by all of the stars and we were even lucky enough to get to wish upon a shooting star that night.
Star gazing is one of the simple pleasures at Our Little House and sitting on our party deck late at night not only gives me a clearer view of the night sky but helps me clear my head sometimes too.
Do you have a clear view of the night sky or have you even noticed that you can’t see many of the stars anymore?