When I go out photographing the night sky, I tend to spend a lot of time looking up trying to get my head around the vastness of space…it's really is incomprehensible when you think of how big space really is so I thought I’d list a few facts with this photo.
- The nearest star to our own Sun is Proxima Centauri, and that is 40 trillion km away.
- The Large Magellanic Clouds, which is can be seen near the centre of this photo, is an irregular dwarf galaxy 158,200 light years from earth. Now light travels at 300,000km per second, so you can just imagine how far away the Large Magellanic Cloud is when light travels that fast for 158,200 years…and that is a relatively close distance compared to the scale of our universe!
- The visible universe stretches out to around 13 billion light years from earth and contains around 100 billion galaxies. And each one of those galaxies contain around 100 billion stars - that means the visible universe contains something like 10,000 million million stars. And if you want to attempt to even put that into perspective…well basically there are more stars in the visible universe than there are grains of sand on our earth!
>> It is natural to want to shine light on what is dark, but Father Timothy Sauppé cautions that too much of a good thing could pose problems for the environment.
The pastor of St. Mary Parish in Westville and St. Isaac Jogues Parish in Georgetown is one of the leaders in an effort to establish a chapter of the +IDA - International Dark-Sky Association in Vermilion County. The organization seeks to inform people about the effects of light pollution on humans and wildlife and to maintain a clear view of the night sky, which Father Sauppé calls “our natural heritage.”
“Light pollution is a matter of out of sight, out of mind,” he recently told The Catholic Post. “We’re sleeping at night, so most of it is wasted light. All we have to do is direct some of the lighting downward. It is easily corrected.” <<
Stunning Nightscapes: Earth & Sky Photo Contest 2015 The winners and notable photos of the 6th International Earth and Sky Photo Contest, (http://twanight.org/contest), a program by The World at Night (TWAN) in collaboration with the Global Astronomy Month (http://astrowb.org) and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). The contest theme is Dark Skies Importance. Similar to TWAN itself, the contest also aims to reclaim the natural beauty of starry sky and to help preserving the dark skies which are not yet dominated by artificial lights.
>> Ever since electricity flipped the switch and transformed night into a blaze of colorful lights and excitement, people have assumed that the need to live in the light of day is history.
As the industrialization of society has taken over, it’s now easy to pick your hours. “Night owls” assume they can breeze through life at any and all hours, sleeping in when they choose with no consequences.
Many of us still possess a rebellious “don’t tell me when to go to bed” streak, and although we think it really doesn’t matter, science is slowly awakening us to the fact that it does. Desperately. <<
Normally, if you ask me how to do astrophotography, among other things I’ll say you need to have access to dark skies. If you live near a city, the sky glows with reflected light, and that washes out your pictures—check out a photo of Orion I took in 2014 (second photo down...
Restore our natural, starry skies by reducing inefficient lighting.
The Campaign for Dark Skies (CfDS) aims to preserve and restore the beauty of the night sky by campaigning against excessive, inefficient and irresponsible lighting that shines where it is not wanted nor needed.
The issues raised by light pollution do not only affect astronomers. Other areas of concern include crime, the environment and health.
Glare and light spill can make it more difficult to see in the dark. Nocturnal wildlife, such as bats and moths, and plants, eg which use day length to monitor seasons, can be affected. So can migrating birds. Intrusive light can, for example, disrupt sleep.
Some of the pages on the Campaign for Dark Skies website: