Today’s total eclipse of the sun, tonight’s stars. Whatever it is, turning your gaze skyward is a thing to do. We’re headed out of the city this week for a little late summer adventure to a spot where seeing the stars is a little more, shall I say, dramatic. Until then, playing make-believe:
A sleeping bag for snuggling up with.
A planisphere for knowing what you’re looking at.
A pair of low-light binoculars for getting close-up and personal.
A portable chair for comfort.
After a long night of stargazing, awaken with a little aromatherapy.
In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few things we can do today to help the night sky.
+ For combatting light pollution: Measure your light. The Globe at Night turns citizens into scientists by asking interested folks to measure and submit their observations of the brightness of the night sky in their local area. You can use apps like Dark Sky Meter or Loss of the Night to help you submit your findings, which are used to track light pollution around the world. Globe at Night raises public awareness on the impact of light pollution, from energy consumption to its effects of health and wildlife.
+ For dark skies: Turn off your lights. The International Dark-Sky Association champions the protection and amelioration of the night sky. It is the leading organization combating light pollution around the world and is the recognized authority on the matter. The work IDA does aims to protect the night sky, educate the public and policy-makers about conserving the night sky, and promote lighting that is dark-sky friendly. The IDA certifies International Dark Sky places in communities doing the hard work of preserving dark-skies. They also run a sea turtle conservation program that works with coastal towns to lessen light pollution that negatively impacts the paths of sea turtles. The IDA’s website lists helpful tips for doing your part to lessen light pollution. Additionally, you can become an IDA member, donate, or volunteer if you’d like to support the cause.
+ For star-gazing in the city: Check out the Amateur Astronomer’s Association of New York. The folks at the AAA promote the study of astronomy, emphasizing its unique cultural and inspirational value. Each week they offer night time star observation events around the five boroughs, from under the Brooklyn Bridge to outside Lincoln Center. They also offer free lectures at the American Museum of Natural History. You can support the AAA by becoming a member or by offering a donation.