World Weaver Press invited me to write a guest post about “By the Light of the Stars”, my story in their solarpunk anthology Multispecies Cities. I took the opportunity to write about nocturnal light pollution, known as skyglow, and its cost to humans and animals.
In January 1994, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake shook Los Angeles. The Northridge earthquake rumbled through at 4:30 AM, waking residents and taking out the power grid. People poured out of their homes and into the darkened streets. And some of them dialed 911, not about the earthquake, but about what they saw in the dark sky: a strange “giant, silvery cloud” arching over the stricken city.
With so many families suddenly homeschooling, I made three free astronomy mini-lessons. They’re for kids 8-12, & they explore the number of stars in the sky and the vastness of the universe. If you live in the city & your kids can barely see the Milky Way at night, these lessons are for you.
Each lesson has a short reading and a STEAM activity. Total time about 30-60 mins per lesson, depending on the kid.
My young son was excited to make out the constellation of Orion for the first time this winter. Unfortunately for us, we live right downtown and can barely make it out, thanks to skyglow. The image above is a terrific side-by-side of Orion with and without the skyglow of Orem, UT. Here in Ottawa, Ontario, all we can see of Orion is the 7 brightest stars: the belt, shoulders and toes. I was inspired to write a short piece on skyglow for kids.