Skyglow

photo credit: rarvesen via photopin cc

photo credit: rarvesen via photopin cc

 

Living in the country, I would look up at the stars; craning my neck till it ached, staring till my eyes were red-rimmed.

Night was a velvet tapestry of a billion heavenly bodies, shining with a fierce brilliance and mirrored in young imagination.

In the city, against fluorescents and halogens, incandescents and LEDs, stars are all but invisible, wonder all but faded.

Ancient celestials are dimmed against the omnipresent skyglow; the nuclear furnace of great suns reduced to a mere glimmer.

I no longer look up or crane my neck; my eyes remain red-rimmed.


The latest Five Sentence Fiction from Lillie McFerrin’s Blog. The prompt word was ‘Glimmer’ and after some thought, this brought me here. Skyglow is a lovely sounding word for what is really pollution, the little known light pollution. For those interested (from Wikipedia):

Skyglow (or sky glow) is the illumination of the night sky or parts of it. The most common cause of skyglow is artificial light that emits light pollution, which accumulates into a vast glow that can be seen from miles away and from high in the sky. Skyglow from artificial lights is common throughout the world and can be observed over most cities and towns as a glowing dome of the populated area.

Skyglow, and more generally light pollution, has various negative effects: from aesthetic diminishment of the beauty of a star-filled sky, through energy and resources wasted in the production of excessive or uncontrolled lighting, to impacts on birds and other biological systems, including humans. Skyglow is a prime problem for astronomers, because it reduces contrast in the night sky to the extent where it may become impossible to see all but the brightest stars. It is a widely held misunderstanding that professional astronomical observatories can “filter out” certain wavelengths of light (such as that produced by low-pressure sodium). More accurately, by leaving large portions of the spectrum relatively unpolluted, the narrow-spectrum emission from low-pressure sodium lamps allows more opportunity for astronomers to “work around” the resulting light pollution. Even when such lighting is widely used, skyglow still interferes with astronomical research as well as everyone’s ability to see a natural star-filled sky.

I encourage you to click through here and read the other Five Sentence Fiction pieces.

Cheers

KT

 

 

 

 

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