CLEAR NIGHT SKIES
Light pollution stops the majority of humans seeing the night sky in all its glory. This disconnects us from our surroundings. What we want to do is to bridge that connection by encouraging councils and governments to turn off all street lights from midnight to 5 am so that citizens across the world can see the night sky in its natural form.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
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What's in the night sky?
Astronomical objects such as the stars, planets, the moon, comets and meteors can be seen with the naked eye from earth. Depending on where you are on Earth, you can also see auroras such as the northern lights or southern lights. The visibility of these objects are affected by light pollution and so not all of them may be visible if you live in a city. This is known as urban skyglow. Light from the moon can also hinder astronomical viewing of other astronomical objects.
Which night sky app is the best?
You can learn more about which apps are best by clicking here.
What’s visible in the night sky?
Depending on the time of year and whether you are near a city or living in the countryside you will be able to see different objects. With the naked eye, you can see the constellations and stars, the moon, galaxies, comets, asteroids, the international space station and satellites. With a telescope or even a pair of binoculars, you can see them in much more detail.
How do I find out more about taking night sky photography?
You can learn more about taking night sky photography by clicking here.
What telescope should I use to view the night sky?
Depending on your price range we recommend if you are new to stargazing that you don’t need an expensive top of the range telescope. We recommend the following:
By buying through these affiliate links you help support Spaceship Earth.
This one is great for kids:
Why is the night sky black?
The daytime sky is blue because light from our Sun hits molecules in the Earth's atmosphere and scatters off in all directions. The blue colour of the sky is a result of this scattering process. At night, when that part of Earth is facing away from the Sun, space looks black because there is no nearby bright source of light, like the Sun, to be scattered. If you were on the Moon, which has no atmosphere, the sky would be black both night and day. You can see this in photographs taken during the Apollo Moon landings.
Why can’t I see stars?
You probably live in a big city where light pollution from the city is causing skyglow which conceals the stars at your location. If you don’t live in an area with a lot of light pollution, it could be that the sky is covered by clouds preventing you from seeing the stars.
Why is the night sky so bright?
If there is a full moon, it allows more of the sun’s light to be reflected from the moon back towards the earth. This causes the night sky to appear brighter. This can make it harder to see the stars.
Why campaign to view the night sky without light pollution?
Viewing the night sky in its natural state is an amazing sight to see. Most people that live in cities never get to see the natural beauty of the night sky. Seeing the night sky without light pollution can be a deeply spiritual experience for many people, as it is a way for us to feel connected to the universe. We recommend you watch the video 'The Most Astounding Fact' to understand how it is we can feel so connected to such as the vast universe.
Why is the night sky beautiful?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. With what we know about the universe, looking up at the stars we know most have planets around them. We know that there are planets that have been detected with signs of liquid water on them. This gives a good chance that there is life elsewhere in the universe. By looking at the stars we are looking at potentially the homes of other life forms and possibly even another civilization. We don’t yet know for sure if there is another intelligent life form out in the universe, but the chances are pretty good.
Where is Andromeda in the night sky?
The Andromeda Galaxy is found in the constellation of Andromeda.
Where is Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn, the Moon, Sirius, Orion and the Milky way in the night sky?
We recommend using this online tool to help you find where these objects are in the night sky as you can set it to your current location: Star Atlas
You can find out more about which app is best to use for viewing the night sky by clicking here.
Where to watch the night sky?
You can watch the night sky from anywhere in the world. Even in cities with lots of light pollution, you can still observe the moon with the naked eye or a pair of binoculars.
Where to photograph the night sky?
Depending on what you want to photograph will determine where to go to take a photo.
Where is the best night sky?
The best night sky to view will be in an area that has the least amount of light pollution.
Where to view the night sky?
You can look out your window at night to view the night sky. If you want to see more objects, you can travel to anywhere there is less light pollution.
Who can view the night sky?
Anyone can view the night sky. They don’t need any expensive equipment as you can view many objects with the naked eye.
Who can help with the campaign?
You can help with the campaign to remove light pollution for one night of the year by writing to your local government representatives. You can use the template letter below.
When is the night sky orange?
The night sky is orange usually around dawn and dusk. The orange sky can be caused by the contribution of aerosols from human activity and also the way the light is being scattered from the angle that light hits the earth's atmosphere at dawn and dusk.
When is the night sky clear?
A clear night sky is dependent on the weather. If you look at the predicted weather for the night time, you will know if the sky is clear or not.
When to view the night sky?
You can view the night sky anytime it is dark. If you want to see more objects, then wait until the sky is at it’s darkest which is around midnight to 1 am.
How do I get involved?
You can get involved by writing to your local government representative to ask if they will join the campaign to switch off lights from midnight, for one day a year.
How to take a time-lapse of the night sky?
How to draw the night sky?
Drawing or painting the night sky can be fun to do. All you need is some paint or colour pencils. Many people have drawn the night sky and have done so without needing to be accurate. For example the famous Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh: The Starry Night
GET LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
Whatever You Can Spare
Write to your local government and ask them to support one day of the year where they turn off all street lights from midnight to 5 am. Here is a draft letter you can write to them.
Every Little Bit Counts
Every little bit of light that escapes from our homes adds to light pollution. You can help combat this by putting up blackout curtains which stop artificial light from escaping outside of your home.
Do Good Together, Join the United Earth Project
Join our United Earth Project and meet other volunteers from around the world. Work with them to organise a global day when we can see the night sky in it's natural beauty
Clear Night Sky Template Letter
[Insert your address]
Dear [Insert name of government official – make sure you use correct title, for example, in the UK, you should address them as Mr, Mrs, Dr, Rt. Hon; or in France as M, Mme; or in Italy as Sig., Sig.ra]
[Paragraph 1] Introduce the reason you are writing. Try to keep this to no more than two sentences, including a key fact to underline the importance of the issue. For example:
I am writing to express my concern about the amount of night time light pollution that is impeding the view of the night sky and preventing citizens from seeing the night sky in its natural state.
[Paragraph 2] Include your personal experience with light pollution including if you have seen the night sky without any light pollution.
When visiting the countryside, it becomes obvious how many more stars become visible in the night sky., while there is less light pollution than towns and cities.
[Paragraph 3] Discuss your main concern(s) about the problem you introduced in the first paragraph. Include one or two main points only; you can always suggest you would like to meet to discuss the issues further.
My concern is that not just tax paying citizens, but also children are prevented from experiencing the natural beauty of our universe.
Remember to acknowledge your government official for any helpful measures that they have already taken to support reducing light pollution, as appropriate.
[Paragraph 4 – Call to Action] Present a solution to your main concerns and let them know what you are asking them to do. This needs to be very clear. Do not ask them to do too much at once. For example:
I ask you to raise these concerns with the both local and central government, and recommend switching all street and public lights off from midnight until 5 am for one single night of the year. I understand it may not be practical to undertake this initiative on a large scale straight away, so I ask that we have our street lights on the street that I live on turned off for one day of the year.
This will give people everywhere a source of inspiration and encouragement to learn about the universe around them. There is a call to action by the charity Spaceship Earth for a united day where all street lights are turned off for one night of the year to allow people everywhere to experience the universe in its natural state.
[Paragraph 5] Ask for a response and provide your contact details. Sign the letter by hand. Depending on the request, you may also want to ask others in your organization or neighbours to sign the letter as well, to show the amount of support you have already gathered.
Please let me know if you are able to raise this issue with government, and at the very least help us turn off our local street lights on our street.
[Your printed name]