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The Himilayas and Starry Nights

"Roger"

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I am not suggesting that anything that follows makes the existence of Coronavirus worthwhile, but we are getting some views (pun intended) of what we have lost in today's industrial society.

Perhaps some of you have seen one of the news articles (multiple sources) about how the Himilayas are visible from space for the first time in 30 years. (Questionable whether the specific number of thirty can be confirmed.) In line with that, the articles often show views (or non-views) of the Himilayas from India now that their dire pollution is temporarily abated. Here is one such link.

The other part of the subject line refers to a personal observation, reflection of mine. I live about six miles outside a small metropolitan area (population of about 50,000), yet so much of the sky is wiped out by light pollution, nothing approaching true darkness is there. When I was a kid, starry nights were so much brighter, so much more awe inspiring, kids growing up now have no idea what a true night can look like. I know that we have gained things, but this loss of true darkness saddens me.
 

Makai Guy

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When I was a kid, starry nights were so much brighter, so much more awe inspiring, kids growing up now have no idea what a true night can look like. I know that we have gained things, but this loss of true darkness saddens me.
When I first moved to SC in 2004 I was amazed that I could see the Milky Way at night. I hadn't been able to see it in decades in PA, OH, and MI. Haven't seen it in later years here, but I honestly haven't been looking. If it's clear maybe I'll go out tonight - moonrise is after 11 pm so there should be some good dark time, weather permitting.

In our summer of working at Yellowstone in 2003, we could even see the Milky Way when attending a lighted ranger program after dark. Now THAT's a clear sky!
 

Brett

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When I first moved to SC in 2004 I was amazed that I could see the Milky Way at night. I hadn't been able to see it in decades in PA, OH, and MI. Haven't seen it in later years here, but I honestly haven't been looking. If it's clear maybe I'll go out tonight - moonrise is after 11 pm so there should be some good dark time, weather permitting.

In our summer of working at Yellowstone in 2003, we could even see the Milky Way when attending a lighted ranger program after dark. Now THAT's a clear sky!

in the winter on the Outer Banks NC you can still see the milky way,
also when a hurricane knocks out all the power for a couple of days
 

Jan M.

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I grew up during the 50's and 60's in a small Ohio town on Lake Erie. My husband grew up in Erie, PA. If you were away from town, especially on the lake, you could see some beautiful night skies and upon occasion were even able to see the northern lights. Not as bright and colorful as they would be if you were farther north but still neat to see.

About 8 years ago I was flying home from Las Vegas on an overnight flight with a quick layover in Dallas. Somewhere over New Mexico or northwest Texas the younger woman sitting in the window seat tapped me on the arm to get my attention to look out the window. She said she'd never seen so many stars and I told her that I hadn't either. We continued to stare out the window transfixed until we got closer to a city and our view was lost to the lights. When I got home I was telling my husband about it and wondered if someone who's never seen anything like it can truly visualize what it's like to see it for yourself, not just pictures.

Whenever we stay somewhere on the ocean or in a very rural area my husband always says he hopes there won't be much ambient light and a clear sky so we can really see the stars. We finally got what could be our once in a lifetime moment late last November when we stayed in Kauai. We had a beautifully clear night with no moon and my husband was wanting to find someplace really dark. I suggested we go to the overlook at Kilauea Lighthouse. We had been to the lighthouse a few days before so I knew the lighthouse wasn't operational and there's nothing around. When we got out of our car in the parking area for the overlook it took a minute or two for our eyes to adjust to the dark. We literally couldn't see our hands in front of our faces and hung on to each other taking baby steps to get over to the railing so we didn't fall because of the uneven patches of asphalt and dirt. Once our eyes adjusted we could clearly see where we were walking and everything around us because there was so much light from the stars. It was even more incredible than what I'd seen on that flight. I've seen the Milky Way in the night sky before but nothing like what we saw that night. My husband knows and can find more constellations than me; I can only find the Dippers and Orion's Belt. There were so many stars even he couldn't pick out a constellation. We were looking out over the ocean and to our left over the lighthouse and towards Queen's Beach when I turned to our right which wasn't as open a view and spotted Orion's Belt just above the trees on the mountainside.

My husband recently asked me what I'd like to do if we went back to Kauai as I didn't get to do much as he did while we were there because I was having trouble with my back being in spasm. I would go back just to be able to go out to the lighthouse and look at the stars again.
 
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Beachclubmum

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My parents live on a barrier island (SC) with a "lights out for sea turtles" rule. Nothing better than sitting with friends on the third floor balcony during a warm summer night, watching the brilliant stars. When there's a meteor shower one tends to duck because they look so clear and close!
 

Sandy VDH

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I've talked about benefits of Tradewinds as a vacation option. Time your cruise to a new moon, and a more distant base, and some of the evening skies are just amazing provided the weather cooperates.

I also happened to be vacation in a dark skies community for a meteor shower last august. I was at Sunset Crater NP, just north of Flagstaff. It was a meteor shower and a new moon. It was fantastic. The stars were so bright they actually cast a shadow. I was AMAZED. I had no idea the stars could be that bright to do that.
 
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I grew up in the sticks just outside of Pittsburgh and clearly recall always seeing the Milky Way plus thousands of other stars every night. After moving down to the 'concrete jungle' (as we called it when we left the great state of Pennsylvania), I don't believe that I've ever been able to see the Milky Way again except for when I've gone camping -- and even then I'd have to be pretty far away from civilization to be able to see anything of significance.
 

"Roger"

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I really didn't expect many (or any) responses to this thread and have really enjoyed reading the posts above.

My own position is closest to "plpgma." I grew up in what was at the time a fairly rural area just beyond the urban sprawl spreading out from New York city. I suspect that back then even urban lights were nothing compared to what they are today. Think of the lighting at the modern gas station, convenient stores. We had nothing like that back then.

I can also appreciate the descriptions of the once in a lifetime experiences. While the night skies were better when I grew up, I also remember a hitchhiking trip I took when in college. I ended up on what was then a very remote Greek island (long story). After making my way to the main"city" (population of about 1500) on the north part of the island, I then took a two hour mule ride across totally uninhabited terrain to get to a monastery which a women had turned into a "hotel" for about ten to twelve people. Nights like I had never seen before. As you can tell, the memory of those night time skies has remained with me forever. Wow!
 

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I grew up in the sticks just outside of Pittsburgh and clearly recall always seeing the Milky Way plus thousands of other stars every night. After moving down to the 'concrete jungle' (as we called it when we left the great state of Pennsylvania), I don't believe that I've ever been able to see the Milky Way again except for when I've gone camping -- and even then I'd have to be pretty far away from civilization to be able to see anything of significance.

Where outside Pittsburgh? We lived in Butler, PA for 22 years before moving to Florida in 2011.
 

plpgma

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Where outside Pittsburgh? We lived in Butler, PA for 22 years before moving to Florida in 2011.
I grew up near Imperial, PA -- on the edge of Montour and Moon Townships. It's a fine thing to be a Yinzer, eh?!
 

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Coronavirus silver lining: less pollution means more night sky - view it from home while you plan trips to world's best dark-sky destinations.


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Richard
 

Sandy VDH

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Where outside Pittsburgh? We lived in Butler, PA for 22 years before moving to Florida in 2011.

I did a contract for Service Star for about 6 months back in the 1990s. Lived in Butler at the Days Inns as it was the only choice in town. LOL Small world.
 

Jan M.

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I did a contract for Service Star for about 6 months back in the 1990s. Lived in Butler at the Days Inns as it was the only choice in town. LOL Small world.

Talk about a small world! We lived up the hill from Days Inn as people in Butler would say.
 

Jan M.

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Jan M.

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In my previous post I mentioned being able to see the northern lights from along Lake Erie. Today someone from my hometown posted these pictures that were taken at Walnut Beach in Ashtabula, Ohio

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