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Milky Way

Our galaxy is the Milky Way, with the location of our solar system within it, and a supermassive black hole at its center.

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Yosemite Night Skies

Yosemite Night Skies

Credit: Dave Young
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22018552@N08/5896162967
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

People who live in cities or even suburbs may are surrounded light pollution. The night sky is so bright that most Americans and Europeans cannot see the Milky Way. That’s why it’s important to visit and preserve dark sky locations like Yosemite.

Why It Matters

Credit: National Park Service
Source: http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/dark-night-sky.htm
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Tuolumne Meadows dark night sky [Figure2]

  • Light and air pollution both obscure night skies in urban and suburban areas.
  • Light and air pollution can bleed into more remote areas, even our national parks. National parks are not impenetrable.
  • Dark skies are important for people to be connected to nature and their galaxy.

Show What You Know

With the links below, learn more about night skies in Yosemite. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is a natural lightscape? What conditions need to be met to find one?
  2. What causes light pollution? How can it be stopped?
  3. How does air pollution obscure night skies?
  4. What is the park doing to protect dark night skies?
  5. What are the effects of outdoor lighting on plants and nocturnal animals?
  6. Have you seen the Milky Way? If so, where were you?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Dave Young; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22018552@N08/5896162967; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: National Park Service; Source: http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/dark-night-sky.htm; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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