Star-gazing, or Trying To.

To see this photo, I suggest that you switch off the light in your room and just tap on this image. 

 

You will probably be wondering what you are looking at – nothing but darkness and some white dots.

The darkness is the night sky, and the white dots are the stars. If you zoom in to the area between two brighter stars, you could probably find the three stars of Orion’s Belt (those three in a line).

This is a piece of the sky from the northern part, near Serimbun, of Singapore on 8 January 2016, at approximately 2am. The place is just across the straits from Malaysia’s Johor Bahru. It is a very remote and quiet place. I was there for a 2D1N camp with my students, and my night sentry duty was from 1-3am. Thus, I could look up and see the stars.

Being located near the Equator mostly means that star-gazing is not that great, but to have such a clear sky is already fantastic enough in this light-polluted cosmopolitan country. I will take everychance I have to look up into the clear sky.

The last time I saw a sky full of stars was in Nikko, Japan, just last month. It was jaw-dropping amazing. I had not seen that many stars so clearly in such a long time. The second last time I did was in Australia, almost a decade ago. So, you folks Down Under, please look up at the stars more often.

Light pollution, like many things man-made, is both a boon and a bane. Boon for lighting up the cities and guiding the airplanes to descend safely. Bane for out-shining the natural light from the stars and moon, such that watching such natural beauty becomes a real challenge. One must either go to some remote part of the country or travel to another part of the world to enjoy Nature’s beauty.

I wish for more Earth Days to happen. One night each year of Lights Out throughout most of the world is not enough to reduce our carbon footprint. Not only that, even animals are affected by the lights. To them, where is the difference between night and day? Their natural clock becomes all mixed up!

Stars. Light. Night. Day. Darkness. Brightness. Sleep. Wake. 

Where is the Balance?

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