200 years ago, no matter where you were on earth, you could look into the night sky and see one of the most beautiful sights one could ever behold - the universe. Trillions of massive burning spheres of gas laid out in front of you. Stars scattered in every direction stretching to infinity. It must have been very relaxing way for our ancestors to end the day. Staring up at the stars and knowing you are a small, insignificant, yet integral part of the universe. I imagine it to be a humbling and centering feeling.
Now days most of us look at our phones and computers before we go to bed. And if we do go outside and glance up we might be lucky to see the big dipper because we live in cities (like Denver) plagued with light pollution.
When I was in my sophomore year of college I was given a golden opportunity of going to Mongolia for a month to study earthquakes with my geophysics professor. Obviously, I couldn't pass up something like that and I went for it. Ended up being one of the top 3 things I’ve ever done in my life. But when I was out there, I was blown away by the pristine view of the stars every night. Although most of the people in the Mongolian countryside lived in huts and milked sheep and horses most of the day, they had something most Americans will never have; a perfect view of the stars.
Living in a busy town like Denver sometimes we can forget about the little things, like looking at the stars. And all those little things add up to being a healthy and well-rounded human. I encourage everyone to get out and try to see the universe; which is why I attached the two links below. Enjoy!
Dark Site Finder is an interesting and interactive map displaying light pollution and darkness worldwide. Be sure to look at Colorado, the border between North and South Korea, and whatever else catches your eye. Plan out your next star gazing event near Denver or discover interesting patterns of civilizations.
This Vimeo video displays the different levels of light pollution and shows just how good the stars can look.
- Isiah Leyshon