Library Corner – Dark Skies

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Empowering individuals to build a stronger community

Dark Skies

Did you know that millions of children will never see the Milky Way? If you have been fortunate enough to live in Craig County, you have seen the bright stars on a summer’s night. You may find it hard to believe that this amazing spectacle could no longer be there for future generations to see. Too much artificial light will prevent us from seeing the stars at night. Fortunately, communities who appreciate their night skies are working to preserve the darkness of the night skies by raising awareness of this issue.

How much wonder and amazement for the universe comes from lying on the ground and looking up at the stars? How many nights have you waited for meteors streaking across the winter sky? Science class comes alive when you spot the planets or see the craters of the moon with a telescope!

The Virginia Western Highlands area is a prime area for “Dark Skies” designation. This includes our home in Craig County. We can start now with an awareness of the celestial wonders and of the lights around our homes. We all want outdoor lights but they can be put on timers, motion detectors, or turned off when we retire. A shield to focus the light to the ground rather than to the sky will do wonders to keep the light where we need it and not pollute the sky for our stargazing neighbors.

The Craig County Public Library has recently received the generous donation of a telescope from the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society. We are seeking anyone who loves astronomy to help us with programs for stargazing the night skies with others. Please contact the library at craiglibrary@tds.net or come by to see us if you can help! Stay tuned to the Library Corner for more information on the new telescope!

For more information on Dark Skies, visit http://www.darksky.org

March 20: The Vernal equinox occurs, signaling the first day of spring.

March 28 is the new moon, a good night for viewing the dark sky!

April 22: Before dawn, look for the Lyrid meteor shower.

  • Marge Lewter, Library Volunteer and stargazer