God who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the chambers of the south... Job 9:9
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who created these?
God who brings out their host and numbers them,
calling them all by name;
because God is great in strength,
mighty in power, not one is missing. Isaiah 40:26
The other morning I was awake "dark and early" and our two cats insisted on being allowed outside. I stepped onto the deck and glimpsed the stars and the waxing moon. This brief experience stirred something in me, as it almost always does. Somehow I feel both smaller and expansive in the same moment, part of something infinitely greater.
Unfortunately something as simple as pondering the night sky has become increasingly difficult as we flood the heavens with human-created light. We had a social gathering in our court of nine households recently and we collectively lamented the new, very intense LED lights which seem to have doubled the brightness outside our homes. We chatted about what we are doing to ensure a decent night's sleep because of these three new lights.
There is growing discussion about the end of night, which is actually the title of a book by Paul Bogard which is in my "to read" pile. We know that around the world light pollution is growing brighter and more extensive every year. Between 2012 and 2016, the planet's artificially lit outdoor area grew by more than 2% per year. Scientists say a "loss of night" in many countries is having negative consequences for "flora, fauna, and human well-being". A BBC Science and Environment article by Victoria Gill offers these facts about our changing night sky:
A recent study published in the journal Nature revealed that artificial light was a threat to crop pollination - reducing the pollinating activity of nocturnal insects.