Reach up and touch the stars!
“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.”Vincent Van Gogh
Today inspiring night skies are disappearing. It is estimated that the Milky Way is no longer visible to 80 percent of Americans.
The Real Night Sky
Step out into your backyard on a clear night and you will see the moon and a peppering of stars. However, many of us have been robbed of the true triumph and majesty of the night sky.
Our sky is home to 100 to 400 billion stars. The Northern Hemisphere has 30 visible constellations. Five of these can be seen all year, while the others appear seasonally.
“You can come to depend on the stars’ movement to mark the changing seasons just as the ancients did. The prominent constellation Orion riding high in the southern sky signals the coming of winter as much as the first snow. Leo the Lion heralds in spring right along with the first flowers on the forest floor. The Milky Way shimmering overhead speaks to the warm nights of summer as decidedly as the calls of the crickets and katydids. And the Great Square of Pegasus always presides over autumn’s changing colors.”Dan Zarlenga, Missouri Department of Conservation
Seven planets can also be seen in the Northern Hemisphere skies at various times throughout the year.
Benefits of the Night Sky
The night sky is scientific, spiritual, and even romantic. The night sky has allowed us to navigate the globe and walk on the moon. Spiritually it connects us to our ancestors who told stories about the constellations to younger generations. The story of two constellations, Cassiopeia and Cepheus, is a love story.
Where Can I See A Sky Full of Stars?
The stars shine brighter in Pulaski County, Missouri! Our rural areas have several publicly accessible spots that will have you feeling like you can reach up and touch the stars. Conservation areas, campgrounds, and the Mark Twain National Forest are open to stargazing and night sky photography. The City of Waynesville has established a dark sky ordinance to reduce light pollution.
For tips on starscape photography visit www.visitmo.com.