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Dark Skies Awareness Blog from Thilina Heenatigala

The Simple Solution Debate

I was having a Single-Serving Friend conversation on a plane ride (like in Fight Club, but not leading to such dire events) leaving Washington D.C. after a conference and it was getting heated. Naturally, having a habit of talking to everyone falling under my radar I had begun a conversation with the man next to me. He asked a common question of someone of my age, “What do you want to do after you finish college?” and the roller-coaster ride of answering that question began leading to a red-faced fellow sitting next to me. Sunset from Cerro Pachón in Chile with the Gemini telescope to the left, a small city on the right, and Jupiter above. My answer, “I want to fight light pollution.” A disgruntled huff followed the statement of one of my life’s goals, a waste in his mind. This evolved over a long process of searching, beginning at age 7. I saw the Milky Way and in no way could understand what it was or why it appeared only far out in the country. I didn’t see it again until college when I lived and worked at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas for three months. Sometimes it was so bright I could walk, easily, just by its light. Upon my return to the university you might say I experienced something along the lines of culture shock. Being disconnected so suddenly from the view and experience I had grown used to and attached to was crushing. Disheartening to the point that I... Read More..