Escaping the Light Dome by donald jensen

By: donald jensen

Its time to Escape the Light Dome… A world where we are blinding ourselves to a view of the universe.

The most disheartening part is that most people not only don’t realize this is happening, they don’t seem to care. It is something that we have just taken for granted… that we will not see the stars from our cities. What is worse, is that most people have no interest in seeking out a view of the stars.

I’ve spent many sunsets in the mountains with moderate crowds, and I am always amazed how quick people are to leave before it gets dark. I understand there is a primordial fear of the dark that is built into us. I get that. However, I also know that there is a different kind of beauty that the night sky brings to the landscape. And, when you wait a little, and let your eyes adjusted to the lack of light, it is a far less frightening place than most would imagine. Its actually quite spectacular.

That was the largest motivation for this video. I think it is important to educate people about the existence and scope of light pollution. Beyond that, hopefully this video will inspire people to get out there, and experience first hand what a sky full of stars looks like.

It was important to show that the Northwest can be every bit a beautiful at night as it is during the day. Seeing snow capped peaks under the stars, and in awe inspiring site. Watching the lights of climbers move around on Mount Rainier under a starry sky brings an interesting connection to someone you will probably never meet. And standing next to a perfectly calm tarn or lake, and seeing the stars reflect off of that body of water is just spectacular. If you haven’t seen these things, you are missing out.

Everyone should make it a point to spend at least two nights under the stars. First, spend a night under the full moon or nearly full moon. When you look down, and see your own shadow on the ground, and realize that is being cast by the light reflecting off of the moon, it is an amazing sensation. It doesn’t even seem real.

Next spend a night under a moonless sky. The shear number of stars is overwhelming. The Sagittarius arm of the of the Milky Way can be seen extending across the sky. The level of wonderment created by this view is off the charts.

I know it is popular to ask everyone to share your videos and pictures around the internet. But I would ask you do something slightly different with this video. Share it with our elected officials. Get them to
watch it, and then ask them what kind of future they want to leave behind.

First, let them see what we as a people are doing to our night skies. More importantly, let them see how totally inefficient we are going about lighting our cities. We can help mitigate this issue by pushing for more efficient lighting practices. This is not about saying everyone needs to turn their lights off at night. Its simply about asking if we are using the right light fixtures to with the right amount of lights to illuminate our streets, sidewalks, and porches.

For more information about proper lighting techniques:

Beyond this, I would ask that people help push for the establishment of Dark Sky Parks so that we can preserve the nightly view of the universe for future generations. I would love to see the establishment off a Dark Skies Park on the Olympic Peninsula, in South Eastern Washington, and possibly even the North Cascades.

For more information on the establishment of Dark Skies Parks, check out this link:

At the end of the night, I can concede that I might never stand outside of Pikes Place Market, and look up and see the Milkyway. However, I will not concede that this should be an ever expanding trend where we have fewer an fewer places from which we can see a sky full of stars.

We really are a little more than the sum of the world we leave behind.

Thanks for watching, and keep an eye out as I have a couple more videos in the work.

I would like to extend a very grateful thank you to Jennifer Warnick for taking the time to narrate this. Her hard work and amazing voice really took this video to whole new level.

The music is “Revival” by CJ Shaman

The origins of the Bill Waterson quote from the beginning can be found here:

Still images from this video:

Canon 7D
Canon 60D
Tokina 11-16
Tamron 16-50
Dynamic Perception Stage Zero Slider

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