Sometimes we don’t even know what it is we’re missing amid our busy lives. Seeing the dark night sky is one of them.
In outback Australia you can even still see the gasses of the Milky Way, away from most of the light pollution we barely even think about when we live in the cities.
Staring up at the clear night sky full of stars that I hadn’t seen for years, I started wondering just how long had it been and why did it feel so important?
Even though my neck was aching from staring straight up, I wanted to savour the sight of each and every constellation, and all the dark space in between them.
I remembered the first time I bemoaned the loss of being able to see the stars. Janis Ian reminded us about them in a beautiful ballad on her 1979 Night Rains album. I was sitting in the city in Sydney staring up and wondering where the stars had gone, as Janis crooned –
“And oh, those city lights,
outshine the stars at night,
though they’re half as bright.”
Janis Ian ‘Jenny (Iowa Sunrise)’
Artificial light does more than impact on our view of the stars, it impacts on our health as well by interfering with the production of melatonin that occurs naturally. Getting out where artificial light cannot overwhelm nature is a boon for the soul.
How long has it been since you’ve really seen the stars at night? Where would you suggest people go to see them?