West Chester University


The Night Sky above WCU


Upon seeing the image below most people will "ooh" and "ahh" as it does have some aesthetically beautiful qualities. However, if you stop and think about what it is you're seeing there's nothing beautiful about it. It's wasted energy and light pollution, plain and simple. When is the last time you looked up and saw the Milky Way? In our efforts to be safe, especially in public places like college campuses, we have gotten a bit over-zealous and misdirected. Lights that are meant to keep us safe are, instead, spilling up into the sky wasting energy and drowning out the stars.

Earth at Night

Luckily the problem has a solution. We can educate ourselves about proper lighting and light fixtures that help keep glare out of the sky and put the light on the ground where it's needed. If you'd like to learn more about how to save our skies visit the International Dark-Sky Association website.

While the skies over the WCU campus may be somewhat limited, you can find some nice dark sites not too far away and there are several amateur astronomy clubs in the area that would be happy to help you out.

If light pollution or bad weather is making your best laid plans to see the real night sky difficult, try stopping in at the WCU planetarium for a tour of the simulated stars. Public planetarium shows are offered the second Friday of every month during the regular academic year. The shows are free but require reservations due to limited seating. For more information see the planetarium website.

This page constructed with the help of Karen Vanlandingham.