Light pollution is harming us all

Chicago by night. But is it really nightIf you have been reading this blog for a few years, you know it : I am very much interested in astronomy and even happen to practice it from time to time. But this is becoming harder and harder globally because of light pollution.

But is light pollution really a pollution ? YES, as it has averse effects on many if not on all species, including ours. Aeon Magazine has published a compelling article on why we should turn off – or at least drastically dim – all street lights :

1. it’s useless to have so much light at night 2. it’s bad for human health 3. it’s even worse for animals. Reading the article, I am quite glad France decided last year to tackle this issue.

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Animation : Borrowed light, by Olivia Huynh

Borrowed light by Olivia HuynhThe previous nights were the occasion to see the Perseid meteor shower. It was also the Nuits des Etoiles in France, where hundreds of events are organized to allow people to watch stars and (re)discover the sky and stars above our heads.

As you perhaps know, I am quite an astronomy fan and I believe it is very sad that the skies aren’t dark anymore. So when Grist published an article about a cute animation on that very topic I knew I had to share it with you.

Borrowed light by Olivia Huynh made me wish for a darker sky and to be able again to enjoy the marvels of the stars, galaxies and nebulae.

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Great astrophotographies – February 2011

I think this is a record of some sort as I am only publishing today my selection of astrophotographies for February… Anyway, here is my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

This month is a bit special as my favorite is a video : ” How big is our Sun compared to other stars? In a dramatic and popular video featured on YouTube, the relative sizes of planets and stars are shown from smallest to largest. “

The video is visible in the full post below. This clearly demonstrates how infinitesimal we are and how our beautiful planet is tiny, thus the need to protect our ability to live on it…

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Great astrophotographies – January 2011

With some late – again – I would like to propose you my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). As always, here is my selection of the best pictures of last month. Today’s picture :

Sometimes it looks like the Sun is being viewed through a large lens. In this case, however, there are actually millions of lenses: ice crystals. As water freezes in the upper atmosphere, small, flat, six-sided, ice crystals might be formed.

I am absolutely still amazed at how many splendors can be seen at night (and day). I just hope we may find a way to make our nights darker so more people can see them.

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Great astrophotographies – December 2010

With some late I would like to propose you my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). As always, here is my selection of the best pictures of last month. Today’s picture :

” A big, bright, beautiful Full Moon slid into planet Earth’s shadow early Tuesday morning. Remarkably, the total lunar eclipse coincided with the date of the December Solstice. “

I am absolutely still amazed at how many splendors can be seen at night. I just hope we may find a way to make our nights darker so more people can see them.

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Great astrophotographies – November 2010

This is time for me to present my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). As always, here is my selection of the ten best pictures of last month. Today’s picture :

” On Reunion Island, it is known simply as “The Volcano.” To others, it is known as the Piton de la Fournaise, which is French for the Peak of the Furnace. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. “

I am absolutely still amazed at how many splendors can be seen at night. I just hope we may find a way to make our nights darker so more people can see them.

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Great astrophotographies – October 2010

This is time for me to present my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). This month was a bit special as I could only select ten of them.

To the NASA, today’s picture : “Look closely at this surreal nightscape. In the dreamlike scene, star trails arc over an old ship run aground on a beach near Gytheio, Peloponnesus in southern Greece.”

I am absolutely still amazed at how many splendors can be seen at night. I just hope we may find a way to make our nights darker so more people can see them.

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For many, the sky isn’t dark anymore

I already wrote a few articles on dark skies and light pollution. It seems the phenomenon is even worse as one can see with the image on left (courtesy of Stellarium, a great astronomy freeware) This also has an important impact on greenhouse gases emissions. In Australia alone, public lightning is responsible for 1.15 million … Read more

Great astrophotographies – August 2010

This is time for me to present my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). This month was a bit special as I could only select eight of them. To the NASA, today’s picture :

Storms on the distant horizon and comet dust raining through the heavens above are combined in this alluring nightscape. (…) the composite of 8 consecutive exposures captures the flash of lightning and a bright Perseid meteor.

This might be my last selection of astrophotographies since I am increasingly aware that this kind of posts isn’t at all in the range of this blog. What do you think ?

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Great astrophotographies – July 2010

This is time for me to present my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). As always, this month was packed with beautiful images. It was difficult to select just ten. To the NASA, today’s picture :

On July 11, after a long trek eastward across the southern Pacific Ocean, the Moon’s shadow reached landfall in South America. In a total solar eclipse close to sunset, silhouetted Moon and Sun hugged the western horizon

I am absolutely still amazed at how many splendors can be seen at night. I just hope we may find a way to make our nights darker so more people can see them.

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Great astrophotographies – June 2010

This is time for me to present my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). As always, this month was packed with beautiful images. It was difficult to select just ten. To the NASA, today’s picture :

The full fisheye frame shows everything above the horizon, including a lamp-illuminated landscape around the edges, and the zenith of the sky directly overhead. The image, however, may be more than beautiful.

I am absolutely still amazed at how many splendors can be seen at night. I just hope we may find a way to make our nights darker so more people can see them.

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Great astrophotographies – May 2010

This is time for me to present my selection of the best pictures of the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). As always, this month was packed with beautiful images. It was difficult to select just ten. To the NASA, today’s picture :

” Flanked by two bright stars, Mu and Eta Geminorum, at the foot of a celestial twin, the Jellyfish Nebula is the brighter arcing ridge of emission with dangling tentacles below and right of center.

I am absolutely still amazed at how many splendors can be seen at night. I just hope we may find a way to make our nights darker so more people can see them.

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