By Xeni Jardin at 6:46 am Sun, Nov 25, 2012
As a kid, I used to lie down in my back yard and see a Milky Way that was much more clearly defined than that in the photo. It felt like the firmament really was a dome.
Light pollution is a bitch.
Over 30 years ago when we were in the middle of nowhere in the troublesome days of late 70s power cuts were quite common in the Anatolian plateau, my mum and I used to lie down on the balcony and watch the stars and she would tell all she knew about it to that 5 year old boy. I got addicted to science way back then.
Wow, I took a look at my flickr stream this morning and got quite a shock! Thank you, Xeni!
@boingboing-78288c7898fdad99aee06e3b42213c7b:disqus , I posted that image originally as part of a demonstration/tutorial for folks in a forum I frequent on what can be accomplished using nothing but command-line instructions in linux; I have never gotten around to stretching levels to bring out the fainter details and improving the visibility of the dust lanes and nebulae.
/looks like I prolly aughtta, eh?
//BTW, the orange glow lower left is Salt Lake City, 150 miles south. Light pollution is indeed a bitch.
edit: Adjusted image now linked to in the description of this image on flickr.
I’m not sure that there’s much you can do. The fainter details aren’t the problem. It’s that the star-field background isn’t as dark as it could be. And you should/could use a real wide angle lens – the Milky Way might stand out better against the darker parts of the sky. Some people mount their regular camera on their star-tracking telescopes so they can get a long or repeated exposure of the sky.
I suspected that that orange glow was a city/town – wow, 240 kms and there’s still enough of a glow to affect the rest of the sky – there’s probably quite a bit of dust in the air.
Find a map of the earth at night and plan for a vacation in the really dark areas (the Sahara, the Far North of Canada, central Newfoundland (and the beautiful Gros Morne Park), the northern part of South America, almost anywhere in Africa and Australia, or (if it was up to me) on a sailboat on the ocean – in the doldrums, so you can lollygag all you want.
There are actually some truly dark spots remaining in the US; most in the southwest. I’m luck to live near some truly pristine skies. This image though was shot frum just under the edge of the light dome for Pocatello (mag 4-5 skies) with a 24mm lens.I hear what you’re saying about truly dark skies. I can drive for an hour-ish and be under skies where the zodiacal light is visible and it’s difficult to find the constellations for all of the “extra” stars that are visible.
http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/ is something that some readers might find useful for finding the few remaining dark sky sites in the US. There are a few left here, mostly in the deserts. Wish this was a global map, there are places in Africa and South America in the midst of huge dark holes in the light pollution that offer stunning views of the southern sky that those of us in the northern hemisphere never get to see.
I think the darkness and inability to make out much of the ground features are what make this such a great photo. Really has a “you are there” feel to it.
I used to be able to see the milky way, but these days it is difficult to see anything beyond magnitude 3.
With the introduction of energy efficient lighting I am seeing Jevons paradox in action.
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