The Salt Lake Tribune reports an annual event to document magnitudes of light pollution across the planet.Â This projectÂ invitesÂ public participation.Â
Every year, Globe at Night asks teachers and students, parents and theirÂ children, and stargazers located internationallyÂ to observe the constellation Orion, specifically his belt.Â Â The website linked above provides all the tools and information needed, although people will need to employ whatever means they have at their disposal to find their latitude and longitude (Globe provides instructions).
The project runs March 16-28.Â Orion appears in the east about an hour after sunset and maintains stellar prominence for several hours until heÂ does a belly flopÂ into the western horizonÂ around midnight.Â Â
When I lived in Payson, UT, Orion and the Big Dipper were the only constellations that hadÂ theÂ umph to shine through the Utah Valley light pollution andÂ haze with any consistency.Â Â Where I live now, the Milky Way runs in a flood of shimmer on moonless nights—a beautiful, mind-bending swath of other places, times, and events visible from our front and back yards.Â Can’t wait to get out there with the kids and see how our drop-dead gorgeous night sky compares with Globe’s magnitude charts.
Ooo, yeah.Â Â We’ve got dark skies here that go on forever.Â Very aesthetically and spiritually exciting.Â Â Anybody not having a similarlyÂ clearÂ window onto the rest of the galaxy—I’m sorry, butÂ you’re losing the only view that goes on forever that you don’t have to pay for, the one everybodyÂ gotÂ for free up until the dawning of the last century’s light craze.Â Now we’re paying for not havingÂ that view.
My best advice:Â Do what’s necessary to getÂ back what you can of the night sky as well asÂ reduce your electric bill and possibly even sleep better at night.Â For good and workableÂ ideas about why and how, go here.
I’ve also written hereÂ about light pollution and its effects.