make-believe: sky gazing.

August 21, 2017

make-believe: sky gazing.Today’s total eclipse of the sun, tonight’s stars. Whatever it is, turning your gaze skyward is a thing to do. We’re headed out of the city this week for a little late summer adventure to a spot where seeing the stars is a little more, shall I say, dramatic. Until then, playing make-believe:

A sleeping bag for snuggling up with.

planisphere for knowing what you’re looking at.

A pair of low-light binoculars for getting close-up and personal.

A portable chair for comfort.

A poem in a book of poetry.

An essay in a book of essays.

A hoodie.

Eclipse glasses for safe daytime sky watching. (Or, this trick).

After a long night of stargazing, awaken with a little aromatherapy.

Action Items:

In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few things we can do today to help the night sky.

+ For combatting light pollution: Measure your light. The Globe at Night turns citizens into scientists by asking interested folks to measure and submit their observations of the brightness of the night sky in their local area. You can use apps like Dark Sky Meter or Loss of the Night to help you submit your findings, which are used to track light pollution around the world. Globe at Night raises public awareness on the impact of light pollution, from energy consumption to its effects of health and wildlife.

+ For dark skies: Turn off your lights. The International Dark-Sky Association champions the protection and amelioration of the night sky. It is the leading organization combating light pollution around the world and is the recognized authority on the matter. The work IDA does aims to protect the night sky, educate the public and policy-makers about conserving the night sky, and promote lighting that is dark-sky friendly. The IDA certifies International Dark Sky places in communities doing the hard work of preserving dark-skies. They also run a sea turtle conservation program that works with coastal towns to lessen light pollution that negatively impacts the paths of sea turtles. The IDA’s website lists helpful tips for doing your part to lessen light pollution. Additionally, you can become an IDA member, donate, or volunteer if you’d like to support the cause.

+ For star-gazing in the city: Check out the Amateur Astronomer’s Association of New York. The folks at the AAA promote the study of astronomy, emphasizing its unique cultural and inspirational value. Each week they offer night time star observation events around the five boroughs, from under the Brooklyn Bridge to outside Lincoln Center. They also offer free lectures at the American Museum of Natural History. You can support the AAA by becoming a member or by offering a donation.

+ To learn more: Watch The City Dark, our friend Ian’s film about light pollution in the big city (and everywhere.) (Available on Netflix.)

PS. Women who chase the sun.

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  • Reply Niken August 21, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Love this idea!

  • Reply Judith August 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Just finished watching it here in Oregon where I could have used that hoodie. It gets cold here when the sun hides behind the moon!

  • Reply Erin August 21, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Oh how exciting it was. I was only a few weeks old when the one in ’79 occurred. This was definitely an awesome event for me!

  • Reply Barbara August 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Love Adrienne Rich … day or night!

  • Reply Sasha August 23, 2017 at 11:35 am

    I saw the ’79 eclipse, I was in kindergarten. People came from all over the world to my hometown, very exciting. This time I was backpacking with my husband and friends, and it was beautiful, especially the shadows through the trees. The night before I couldn’t sleep (tent, dogs, blistered feet) and I got up and just sat and star gazed until I got too cold. The stars were reflecting on the lake below is, the milky way spilled across the center of the sky, a million stars doesn’t even come close. I felt so lucky to be alive.

  • Reply Nicky E August 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    It was really an exciting event! Many people don’t realize but we’re so lucky that this full eclipse of the sun happened in our lifetime.

  • Reply Аnn August 26, 2017 at 8:11 am

    I’m waiting impatiently for the story, how it all went 🙂
    A parade of planets will be seen above my city in September.

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