August 15, 2016
‘There aren’t many towns, even small towns, where you can stand in town limits and see the Milky Way like that’
I make fun of video game players but people obsessed with planets and stars are almost as bad, except they’re wrapped in centuries of romance AND science, which is a high grade combination for mischief.
Star gazing is particularly stupid. It’s quite possible that the “star” you’re looking at isn’t even there anymore. You’re looking at the light it gave exuded.
Basically, you are craning your neck to stare longingly at a luminous fart that a rock in the sky gave off once.
Now these anti-progress hippies are forcing their neighbours to live in the dark like they’re in North fucking Korea:
So for more than a decade, the two towns and a local dark-sky nonprofit have been dialing down the dimmer switch. They have replaced streetlights and passed rules requiring that outdoor lights point down. The group built a small observatory with star guides who tee up its telescope and take people on a tour of the night. They coax homeowners to hood their porch lamps or dim a bright light outside their house.
“People out of ignorance go with whatever’s cheap or whatever’s brightest,” said Ed Stewart, a board member of the local dark-sky group. “You multiply that by 200, 300, and there goes the sky.”
He said advocates met with homeowners’ associations and held stargazing parties to sell the virtues of the night. When they gaze over the valley and see winking floodlights on a ranch or home in the hills, they see their next targets of persuasion.
“You can’t just go up to someone and say, you’ve got a bad light, and legislate the problem away,” he said. “People resist that, especially in Colorado.”
In 2012, Mr. Stewart said a new store opened in town that flouted the area’s nighttime sensitivities and became a glowing eyesore. He said people in the community wrote letters to the editor, urging the store’s manager to change the lighting until, finally, the store relented.
“We feel like they’re a part of the community now,” Mr. Stewart said.