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Time magazine article on amateur astros...

Started by kmichaelm, 05/11/2003 05:25PM
Posted 05/11/2003 05:25PM Opening Post
I sent a letter to the editors of Time about their article on amateur astronomy (the Time article link is below). Here it is. Michael


Your article on amateur astronomy stressed the high-tech / gadget-rich side of the hobby while making no mention of how easy it is to enjoy astronomy using simple, inexpensive equipment or no equipment at all. With a little knowledge and learning, even the unaided eye can reveal many fascinating phenomena in the universe around us.
Unfortunately, modern consumer culture has led many to believe that the latest, greatest microprocessor driven device is needed to experience celestial wonder when in fact a simple pair of binoculars or just a look in a truly dark sky at the right time and in the right direction is all that is needed.

But those kind of low-tech experiences of the night sky are getting harder to have as our cities expand and waste light by throwing it in all directions, including skyward, producing an all encompassing dome of artificial light above us that is destroying our view of the universe and wasting precious energy in the process. Poor, inefficient lighting costs about a billion dollars per year in the
United States. Fighting this light pollution is a win-win prospect. Night sky friendly lighting saves energy, is better for security and safety and preserves the beauty of a star filled sky, something that everyone should be able to see, not just those that can afford a multi-thousand dollar CCD rig or a cottage in the country.

For more information, see the web site of the International Dark-Sky Association at

K. Michael Malolepszy
St. Louis Astronomical Society


Original Time article at,9171,1101030512-