Radio Astronomy

[Image: The North American and Pelican Nebulas; from NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day].

This is quite possibly the coolest thing I've read in months: in order to combat light pollution, city officials in Reykjavik, Iceland, "will turn off street lights on Thursday evening and people are also being encouraged to sit in their houses in the dark." The clincher: "While the lights are out, an astronomer will describe the night sky over national radio."

(Via WorldChanging and Z+).

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Anonymous paul schütze said...

Hm ... so let me see if I've got this right. On Thursdays while all the lights are out and the light pollution is at a minimun thus hugely enhancing visibility in the night sky people are encoraged to sit inside and have the readilly available spectacle described to them on the radio?? Sounds like a plan.

Having seen the Northern Lights from just outside Rejkyavic in a sky so dense with stars it was almost oppressive I can't imagine why anyone might be inside on a Thursday night once this plan is implemented.

October 07, 2006 5:42 AM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Maybe they'll broadcast it on loudspeakers...

Actually, I just think the article is badly written; I think that what it means to say is: people who are already indoors, sitting at home, will be encouraged to do so in the dark - not that everyone should return to their homes and sit in darkness while the stars are out above their heads. I think it's a rhetorical problem.

October 07, 2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Reminds me of an article I read once. Apprently, there was a fairly wide spread power outage in L.A. a few years ago, and the police where inundated with phone calls from people reporting strange blinking lights in the night sky. A city oblivious to the heavens above the meat colored light they were so used to seeing at night. Kind of interesting and sad.

Where's the bldgblog reading list? My books on deck are a little weak these days.

October 07, 2006 3:58 PM  
Blogger Robert Krulwich said...

since i sometimes work on the radio, I could help but imagine:

It's thursday.
8:58.
You are sitting in the studio looking up through a plate glass window at the sky...ready to go on the air..
And with one minute left...a tongue of cloud begins to steal one star, then another, then another in a soft haze...
and you lean over and see that what's coming is a very, very big cloud...maybe a weather front..
and the director is counting down..
5--4--3--2--
and the last thing you think before they give you the "You're on" signal...
Is that you have to fill 59 minutes..by yourself..

October 08, 2006 3:56 PM  

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