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The Wonder of Dark Skies and Stars

Have you ever looked up at a night sky packed with stars? My most vivid memory of a night sky was one where the “stars were so densely packed that you couldn’t make out any familiar constellations.”

I had an unexpected philosophical moment during my lunch today when I took 11 well-spent minutes to watch this TEDxPhoenix video about looking up.

The speaker, Lucianne Walkowicz, works on NASA’s Kepler mission. Basically, she hunts for planets. What a thing to say at cocktail parties when you introduce yourself: I hunt for planets. Wow. What is even more amazing is that we can all help her hunt for planets. There is a site called Planet Hunters where you can become a citizen scientist and help poke through the data to find planets.

And while we sift through data to reveal the treasures sent back by our remote eyes (the telescopes), Lucianne Walkowicz also makes us think about preserving the treasure that we have all around us. She encourages you to check out International Dark-Sky Association for more information about preserving the night sky. I also found a recent article on dark skies in the Guardian that is worth a read.

I embedded the video from YouTube because the source on the TEDxPhoenix site doesn’t provide embedding code. Visit the source site for links to other TED videos by Lucianne Walkowicz.

Citizen scientists digging through data. Awareness of the awesomeness of space, planets, and stars. That had to be shared. Now I need to go listen to “Stars” by The Weepies because “I feel a pull to the blue-velvet dark and stars”.