Seeing Stars - Terra Firma

Mar 27, 2020

For my part, I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of stars makes me dream… Vincent Van Gogh

It’s surprising how few people have ever seen a truly dark sky. Light pollution has stolen the view of the Milky Way from the homes of over 60% of Europeans and 80% of North American.

And it seems the sight of stars has influenced many of us in so many ways. For centuries natural, starry night skies have inspired art, science, poetry and even helped explorers to navigate.  

Consider the rich abundance of music, art, poetry and philosophy that references the stars, or the sight of the night sky in all its glory. Sadly for some, it is not possible to fully appreciate a natural night sky due to the onset of light pollution. 

Those living in large towns and cities where only the glow of artificial light is visible overhead as a yellow hue often seek a naturally dark sky site.

Such “dark sky” spots can offer not just a stunning landscape but a sanctuary at night for the visitor to enjoy a magical skyscape overhead where The Milky Way (which is the name for our home galaxy) can flow in all its glory. On a clear night in Ireland under a dark sky, you can see over 4,000 twinkling stars, planets such as Venus or Jupiter and even meteor showers and all with the unaided eye!

So here is an image taken recently in Mayo Dark Sky Park on an overnight camp we did. Here we have Venus shining brighting over tree tops, the jewel star cluster of Plaeides and even a glimpse of the Starlink satellites passing between the two natural night sky objects. Man made versus our natural cosmos …..I vote for nature every time!!

Extract from our guest blog originally published 3rd March 2020