Light pollution is called “pollution” for a reason. It’s when human light sources almost literally contaminate skies, hindering us all from seeing the stunning beauty of what’s out there. And things aren’t exactly getting better. In fact, only recently we wrote about how increased light pollution now makes it impossible for 80% of North Americans to see the Milky Way. Sad news.
Luckily, there still are places where even North Americans can see the galactic marvel. All it takes is a trip to Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress that’s part of the Dry Tortugas National Park, located just 70 miles west of Key West. The islands that comprise the national park now serve as a safe haven for the most preserved coral reef in the United States and protect countless marine animals and bird species, but the true value of this place was probably best captured by one of Fort Jefferson’s most famous prisoners, Dr. Samuel Mudd:
“The only escape from the hell of this prison, is gazing at the night skies.”
Mudd’s quote should come as no surprise when you know that the the Dry Tortugas National Park is the darkest spot on the entire East Coast. It’s what motivated Bosnian American photographer Harun Mehmedinovic to go and check it out with his Canon 5DSR and 5DIII cameras. The footage he came home with is mesmerizing and will leave you in awe.
The video was filmed as a part of the Skyglow project, an ongoing crowdfunded quest, co-founded by Mehmedinovic, to explore the effects and dangers of light pollution in contrast with some of the most incredible dark sky areas in North America. Together with Gavin Heffernan, Skyglow hopes to inspire as many people as possible to “look up” and eventually inspire them to do something about light pollution, as suggested by Verlyn Klinkenborg:
“Of all the pollutions we face, light pollution is perhaps the most easily remedied. Simple changes in lighting design and installation yield immediate changes in the amount of light spilled into the atmosphere and, often, immediate energy savings.”
Who are we not to support that goal? Because if nothing happens, the developed world may lose its dark skies by the end of the 21st century. And we can not let that happen.