When it is darkest, men see the stars

Ralph Waldo Emerson might have been right 200 years ago…

This past weekend we went to Cahuita and Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. The beaches were definitely the best part. Saturday night we went out on to the beach, brought our guitars and played some great music. I looked up at the sky and recognized a few easy to spot constellations: Orion the hunter to the East (which everyone knows – Orion’s belt), Rigel and Betelgeuse, Andromeda and Pegasus almost directly above, Cassiopeia to the North, and Cygnus to the Northwest. This is looking up from Costa Rica (and neighboring countries of course). It was interesting because even though the sky was clear as glass, it was still hard to spot some of these stars. It’s sad really. The main reason for this is mostly light pollution. When we think about pollution things like air and water pollution pops into the head. Light pollution? Most people don’t even know what it is.

The point is, human activities and development have had a profound effect on the environment. Modern society depends too much on these natural resources. We keep taking but not giving back, and soon, resources are going to run out. The environment can survive without us, but we can’t survive without it. Astronomy has had a long history going back to the Greek and Roman Empire, Egypt and China. Imagine the night sky back then…no lights, not much pollution, and a view of the stars clear as night. How awesome is (well, was) that?

Many religion associate stars with gods and heaven. Most people would admit that stargazing on the beach with a love one is perhaps one of the most romantic things to do. Well, soon there won’t be any stars to see because our atmosphere would be so polluted. 

See for yourself

Hace mucho tiempo, cuando no había nada, eso es el tiempo que pueda ver claramente el mundo y el universo. Querría volver a eso tiempo.   

So, look up to the sky, ponder about meanings, enjoy the view while we still can.

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