Every year in April, during the week of the New Moon (which occurred Sunday, April 15 in 2018), night sky advocates around the world celebrate International Dark Sky Week, with the intent to create greater awareness around light pollution and what it costs us in energy use, in habitat stewardship, and in our own health and well being.
The International Dark Sky Association reports that in the United States, nearly 1/3 of all light used at night is wasted because it spills up into the sky where it’s not needed. This amounts to a waste of over $3 billion a year in the US alone! And the emission of nearly 15 million tons of CO2 into the environment, annually.
Recently, artificial light at night researchers were able to determine that despite a seeming increase in awareness about the harmful effects of light pollution, the Earth is actually getting artificially lighter and brighter at a rate of about 2% each year, worldwide.
In the poet’s world, light pollution severely inhibits human destiny and the sacred encounters to which human beings are led when exposed to healthy and regular doses of starlight.
So as you watch the evening sky during International Dark Sky week each year, you’ll notice the crescent Moon move up the sky, usually making way past the star cluster of the Pleiades in the constellation Taurus, before reaching the Bull’s Eye star Aldebaran. April is also the season of the Lyrid Meteor Shower, which peaks in the third week, after 10 pm.
The shower’s radiant is in the constellation Lyra, also known as the lyre of Orpheus, the stringed instrument that to the ancients was like the soul of the human being, which harmoniously rings out when souls meet, guided to one another by their greater destiny.
The words of Emily Dickinson for your dark sky week:
Go thy great way!
The Stars thou meetst
Are even as Thyself~
For what are Stars but Asterisks
To point a human life?
You can tune in to my recent radio segment on International Dark Sky Week at this link to my host station, Interlochen Public Radio.