Guide Us Home :: RI

18 Jul
Guide Us Home :: RI

Guide Us Home :: RI

In Connecticut, dark sky areas are almost non-existent, due to our dense population and the light pollution that comes with it.  That makes capturing the Milky Way very difficult.  To truly have a sky that is dark enough to see detail in the Milky Way core, I need to either drive to Rhode Island (where the is a tiny oasis of dark sky along our shared border) or north and/or northwest towards Massachusetts, Vermont or upstate New York.

So besides the inconvenience of needing to travel, why is light pollution a problem?  Because it isn’t just light.  It’s light that affects everything.

There is evidence that too much night-light will effect trees’ seasonal clocks.  It’s shown that the bright lights of human cities can disrupt migration patterns of birds, the ability of newly hatched sea turtles to find the safety of the water, the hunting and territory patterns of opportunistic animals…. and researchers are beginning to think that the disruption to our – humans – natural circadian cycles is a risk factor for higher incidences of cancer.

“The health effects of light pollution have not been as well defined for humans as for wildlife, although a compelling amount of epidemiologic evidence points to a consistent association between exposure to indoor artificial nighttime light and health problems such as breast cancer, says George Brainard, a professor of neurology at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.” (here)

So about those pockets of darkness near Connecticut?  Well, Beavertail Light in Rhode Island is along the edge of one.  When my friend Tony Curado, who is working on a Galactic 50 project (capturing the Milky Way in all 50 states!), suggested he wanted to chase stars in my neighborhood, I knew exactly what location to try.

The night finally arrived, and as I sat there under the stars with Tony and Kyle (another local photographer), I felt grateful. There I was, watching the universe do its thing, the sounds of the waves kissing the land, and good friends to share it with.

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