Falling in Love With the Dark – Issue 27: Dark Matter

If you see a car along that road,” Tyler Nordgren warned me, “don’t look at the headlights. It’ll ruin your night vision for 2 hours.” Nordgren and I had pitched our tents under the brow of Mount Whitney in the Alabama Hills, a field of boulders near Death Valley. We watched it get dark, and in the nighttime horizon, the sky was perforated by stars and streaked by the Milky Way. Or, to put it in approximate scientific terms, it was probably a 3 on the Bortle Scale, the 9-level numeric metric of night sky brightness.

Even so, we could still see domes of hazy light from 200-odd miles south in Los Angeles and 250 miles east in Las Vegas. That encroaching urban glow was like highlighter calling attention to the issue that Nordgren, a prophet whose cause is light pollution, wanted to illustrate for me.

“We’re losing the stars,” the 45-year-old astronomer told me. “Think about it this way: For 4.5 billion years, Earth has been a planet with a day and a night. Since the electric light bulb was invented, we’ve progressively lit up the night, and have gotten rid of it. Now 99 percent of the…

Read More…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s