Texas Liberal

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What Does Night Sky Look Like If You Live Outside A City?

It has occurred to me that I’ve not seen an unobscured night sky for over 20 years. I recall seeing the Milky Way while visiting Vermont some time in the late 1980’s.

I don’t camp. I’ve never spent a night outdoors in my life. I don’t think I’ve even spent a night outside of a city since that time in Vermont. 

On an airplane at night earlier this year, I could look out and see a number of stars. But you can only see so much looking up from an airplane window.

I don’t know that my life would be different if I could see a sky full of stars. I suppose this is the kind of thing people mean when they say that we’ve lost touch with nature.

That said, I don’t like bats. Maybe the picture above of a night sky and Milky Way will have to suffice.

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October 6, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. An unobstructed night sky is an awesome sight. I remember the skies of my childhood in Congo, and the clear darkness. We would sit and point out the constellations and my father would tell us their stories. Later, I visited my cousin in Namibia and stayed at her desert home. The stars came all the way down to the horizon, the meteors were streaking by, and I was awakened by a bright light I thought was the sun, but turned out to be the full moon. In contrast, the sky in Houston is never clear, and to see a few stars means a lot. The differences are subtle in terms of daily life, but I agree with you that without a clear night sky, we are less likely to feel connected to the world outside our living rooms. A night full of stars is huge, but the average urban nightscape feels much lower and smaller.

    Thanks for reminding me about the stars…

    Comment by AmyEmilia | October 6, 2008

  2. AmyEmilia–Thanks for this great comment. Nothing I can say to improve on it.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 7, 2008

  3. I grew up on a farm in Virginia, no electric, no running water, no TV! My favourite evening time thing to do was to go outside, lie down in the yard and look at the millions of stars. In my childhood I recall seeing a comet but cannot recall which one. It was visible for quite some time, maybe as much as a week or two.

    Recently it dawned on me that my kids, now in their 20’s & 30s have probably never seen the Milky Way in it’s full glory. How sad.

    I live in a mid sized city in Florida where one can only see a few stray stars on a clear evening. How sad that my kids and millions of other kids may think that there are only a dozen or so stars in the sky.

    I am currently looking for (hopefully) a near by area where I can get far enough out into the country to see the stars and the Milky Way!

    Comment by Magginkat | October 10, 2008

  4. this is beautiful… i grew up in the desert too, in Arizona, before half of California moved there… ;) loved to wrap up in something warm and sit in the back yard look at the night sky. it used to make me feel like everything is ok…

    at some point i gained strength from realizing that even if we destroy our planet, there is still so much beauty, there is so much that we cannot even touch, never mind destroy, out there in space – ice crystals and planetary rings and brilliant-hued gases – even if it is quieter and colder than our little blue pearl.

    i’m moved by the commenters above who point out that kids today probably don’t even know what a skyful of stars looks like. it’s very sad indeed…

    Comment by birdfarm | January 22, 2009

  5. birdfarm—Nice comment. Nothing I can add. Please visit the blog again.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | January 23, 2009


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