Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mystery under the same sky

Photo: What the night sky really looks like:
NASA image of Orion

Yesterday was a full moon. The view of the sky from our planet has changed little since ancient times. We still have similar eclipses; we still have the same constellations. Unfortunately, the more light we produce, the more feebly we see the stars.

Surrounded by so much man-made light, those of us who live in cities see only a very few of the brightest stars; many have never seen an unlit night sky with its myriad stars.

In fact, the pale shadow "night" sky we see is as different from the true night sky seen from darkness as -- well, day and night. In fact, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has established Dark Sky Preserves across the country to encourage viewing the night sky.

From my suburban doorway I can still glance up at the belt of Orion, half-hidden behind a tree that screens our garden from that of our neighbours. It's a reminder of the black and starry skies I've been fortunate to see, as well as the ultimate mystery of our galactic home amid the stars.

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