I love astronomy. Duh. But I really love getting out under a dark, moonless sky and seeing the stars spangled across the velvety sky. There's just something special and wonderful about it. And if you can get to a truly dark site, it's spectacular. The Milky Way becomes a vivid stream of stars and clouds, spattered with darker regions where interstellar dust blocks our view of the treasures behind.
But this view is becoming increasingly difficult to find, especially in the United States. Cities get bigger, sprawl spreads farther, and the lights people use fill the sky with a persistent and irritating glow. We're losing touch with the sky.
That's why Jennifer Barlow started National Dark Sky Week (with participation from the International Dark Sky Association), a week where people are encouraged to turn down or off their outside lights, and to get out under the night sky.
This touches all of us. I have many stories about this sort of thing (like this one, or this one) and I am always amazed and gratified to see how "normal" people react when they get to a really dark site for the first time.
With Dark Sky Week, maybe we can all make that experience a little easier for everyone.