For many of us, the night sky has vanished. Those who live in urban or suburban environments have seen darkness at night replaced by a wash of perpetual light. Only the brightest stars are visible from our homes. If we’re lucky, we can find the Big Dipper, the Summer Triangle, and Orion from our backyard or balcony. Even escaping to a nearby park doesn’t help very much. Urban lights cast a long glow.
The difference between an urban night sky and a country one is startling. Away from city lights, the sky is ablaze with stars. They literally jump out at you, and it’s easy to become lost in the heavens. Where are the constellations? What are the names of all those numerous bright stars? In summer, the appearance of the ribbon of starlight called the Milky Way is an unexpected bonus. And with so much visible, wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what you’re looking at?