The night sky is a beautiful thing, if you can see it. You may be saying, of course I can see the night sky, I just have to look up. You would be correct but only partially correct. Unless you are out in the woods or in the middle of the desert you probably are not seeing the whole night sky, you are seeing the night sky through light pollution.
On April 25, 2009 in Harmony, Florida a festival to celebrate the night sky is taking place. The festival is called the Dark Sky Festival. This festival was created to educate the general public about astronomy and also about protecting the dark skies. Being able to see the dark sky certainly makes looking at heavenly bodies much easier but it is much more important than that. Light pollution affects many things including wildlife.
Wildlife are so sensitive to light and dark. For example, sea turtles can often become disoriented on their way to the ocean by the artificial light of road lamps, houses or sky glow of cities. Light and dark are essential to the healthy growth of organisms. Light pollution can confuse migratory animal navigation using the horizon and stars for orientation, it can also alter competitive interactions and reproduction behavior, and in addition it can change the normal predator-prey relationship and influence animal psychology.
I used to go hiking with my Aunt and Uncle way up in New Hampshire where there was little light pollution. Seeing the night sky from a mountaintop is incredible and something that one cannot see at the city level. I think that everyone should be able to experience seeing a truly dark sky and that is why I like what the Dark Sky Festival is trying to achieve. The 6th Annual Dark Sky Festival at Harmony would fantastic to attend because not only could I learn how to lessen my light pollution impact, I could also do some stargazing. Astronomy is a fascinating endeavor so this would certainly be an inspiring event to attend.
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