Milky Way rising above Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California
© Cory Marshall/Tandem Stills + Motio
Could you turn off the lights?. Dark Sky Week
During International Dark Sky Week, we're counting ourselves lucky to have this spectacular nighttime view, considering the astonishing fact that 83% of the global population lives under a light-polluted sky. Unneeded artificial light is classified as a pollutant and has been proven to have harmful side effects. Not only does it waste money and energy, it also disrupts plants and animals, is believed to impact the climate, and blocks our view of the universe.
Encouraging people to get away from artificial light is one of the goals of International Dark Sky Week, and today's photo shows just how magnificent that can be. Here, we're treated to a beautiful view of the Milky Way from Yosemite National Park in California. Yosemite is part of a network of national parks monitoring dark night skies to gather a complete data set of light pollution. A report from Yosemite National Park says that 'two-thirds of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from their backyard, and if current light pollution trends continue, there will be almost no dark skies left in the contiguous United States by 2025.'
Luckily, dark sky is a recoverable resource. There are ways to reduce our light use and improve the view of the night sky for everyone. Think about it over the course of the next week, preferably while gazing at a night sky undisturbed by light pollution—or at least a beautiful photo of one.