When the great earth, abandoning day, rolls up the deeps of the heavens and the universe, a new door opens for the human spirit, and there are few so clownish that some awareness of the mystery of being does not touch them as they gaze. For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream of stars – pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time. Fugitive though the instant be, the spirit of man is, during it, ennobled by a genuine moment of emotional dignity, and poetry makes its own both the human spirit and experience.
Henry Beston, The Outermost House (1928)
A dark, star-filled night sky is often thought of as important for astronomy or research. Though this is true, the grandeur of the night sky is much deeper and broader, and accessible to anyone. We find the beauty and meaning of natural night is best expressed by poets and writers, such as Henry Beston, Rachel Carson, and Paul Bogard.
Photo by Tyler Nordgren, courtesy of the Grand Canyon Association
Although astronomers and astronomy are important (some of our best friends are astronomers), protecting the night sky just for astronomers would be like protecting Grand Canyon just for geologists. Yet no one ever seems to think so narrowly about the Canyon; it is our hope that after looking through our website you may think more broadly about the night sky.