The Salt Lake Tribune reports an annual event to document magnitudes of light pollution across the planet. This project invites public participation.
Every year, Globe at Night asks teachers and students, parents and their children, and stargazers located internationally to observe the constellation Orion, specifically his belt. The website linked above provides all the tools and information needed, although people will need to employ whatever means they have at their disposal to find their latitude and longitude (Globe provides instructions).
The project runs March 16-28. Orion appears in the east about an hour after sunset and maintains stellar prominence for several hours until he does a belly flop into the western horizon around midnight.
When I lived in Payson, UT, Orion and the Big Dipper were the only constellations that had the umph to shine through the Utah Valley light pollution and haze with any consistency. Where I live now, the Milky Way runs in a flood of shimmer on moonless nights—a beautiful, mind-bending swath of other places, times, and events visible from our front and back yards. Can’t wait to get out there with the kids and see how our drop-dead gorgeous night sky compares with Globe’s magnitude charts.
Ooo, yeah. We’ve got dark skies here that go on forever. Very aesthetically and spiritually exciting. Anybody not having a similarly clear window onto the rest of the galaxy—I’m sorry, but you’re losing the only view that goes on forever that you don’t have to pay for, the one everybody got for free up until the dawning of the last century’s light craze. Now we’re paying for not having that view.
My best advice: Do what’s necessary to get back what you can of the night sky as well as reduce your electric bill and possibly even sleep better at night. For good and workable ideas about why and how, go here.
I’ve also written here about light pollution and its effects.