There are some here on the forums that are star gazeers and comment on light polution, well here you go. We were at the GC this last weekend and met David Uberuaga the new Park Puperintendent who is following his predesessor in trying to eliminate light polution in the park. He has done night aerial surveys and has gotten the FAA to approve turing off the flashing lights on the wind turbines, they are now activated by aircraft that enter the area. In some places they have just turned off all outdoor lighting. The Superintendent who goes by his first name for obvious reasons, has a really huge responsibility in running the park is a really great guy and usually wears civies so he doesn't stand out (but looks good in his uniform) is out and about talking to visitors and staying in touch with them. He is trying very hard to bring the Native Americans back to the park and has an Indian Liason Office working on developing education programs to explain the history of the eight tribes that have occupied the area. Some really good changes coming to the park.
With 4.5 million visitors in the park each year there are a lot of things that need improving, we didn't get to talk about the campin/rv access but when we return we will ask about that. I'm sure that after years of neglect that those are on Dave's agenda. For those who might be interested, the Grand Canyon Association is working in partnership with the NPS and by joining you can help push for improvement in the RV areas.
"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to go". R. L. Stevenson
I forgot how really cool the night time is until we took the DGKs to the Amazon three years ago, hours from the nearest city even the starlight casts a shadow. Amazing.
Forgot our little LED flashlight one night and got lost in the parking lot at the Community Building. Won't make that mistake again.
For those of you that have never experienced total darkness, it is surreal, lost all power on board the sub I served on one time, only the light from radium dials on watches available for a few second. You lose all sence of direction and most of your sence of balance.
On our way home to SoCal we stopped at the Meteor Crater RV park off I-40 east of Flagstaff at some 7,000 ft elevation. It was late June and with the sun setting so late I never thought about stars until I stepped out to walk the dog around 10pm. I looked up and almost ducked the stars looked so close and bright. There were so many that it took a while to ID the few we can see from home. I was impressed.
It's good to know that there are some places on earth that are not light poluted. As I noted before, too many RVers want to light up a campsite like it's Times Square. If you are going out to see nature,turn off the lights.
This is mostly unrelated but I understand the City of Detroit is going to shut down a large percentage of their street lights. Their reason is not enough money to pay the power bill. I wish more cities would consider turning off a large percentage of their useless street lights both to save money and to bring back some of the beautiful night sky I knew as a child.
bring back some of the beautiful night sky I knew as a child.
I grew up in the Southern part of Brooklyn NY (by Jamaica Bay) in the fifties; I couldn't see many stars at night, but I remember my Dad pointing out Orion's Belt and the Big Dipper. Now I don't know if one can see any stars at all there.
When I was about 13 we went upstate NY to visit some friends of my parents. I only remember 2 things about that trip: the awesome, astounding Milky Way splashed across the starry sky; and that I kissed a boy for the first time under that sky.
Prior to that, my experience of starry skies was at the Hayden Planetarium. Their Sky Show took place in a large, domed auditorium. The seats were arranged in concentric rows surrounding an enclosure that housed IMHO the most fascinating machine ever created, and its operator.
The machine was shaped sort of like a huge, metal Q-tip covered with hundreds of glittering glass lenses and tiny lights. The operator sat at a big, multi-section panel of buttons and switches which controlled the machine's raising, lowering, turning and tilting on its supports, and caused images to be projected from behind the lenses, onto the white surface of the domed ceiling. This machine could show you what the sky looked like at any hour, on any day of any year, in any area of the Earth.
The operator gave a very interesting talk while this was going on, and he would illustrate his talk by pointing to specific points in the celestial scenery with a special flashlight. Instead of a regular light beam, this flashlight projected a bright green arrow.
I guess you could call the machine a projector but that's like calling the Titanic a boat. And I thought that guy had absolutely the coolest job in the world. I still do. I would rather have been that operator, controlling the magic star machine, telling stories of heavenly events long ago to a hushed, enthralled audience, and wielding the green arrow flashlight, than be President. Or even a Rockette (my earliest remembered career choice).