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It often surprises me how startling the night sky can be. With children out and about after dark, I think it’s the perfect time to look upwards. We pay so little attention to what’s going on outside of our own little world that we miss what’s going on above our heads.

And I guess I’m not alone. David Bly the Desert Valley Times points out how artificial lighting makes us feel disconnected from nature. Although I think there are a lot of things that break our relationship with the non-human world around us, in this case, Bly was talking about how night lights cut us off from astronomical phenomenon.

He relates a story of a woman who, having grown up south of the border where the stars are even less visible than our light-flooded country, had never fully examined a full moon in Nevada. And when she finally did, she was startled by what she saw: the man in the moon.

We certainly do miss out when we can’t see what’s going on in other worlds in our galaxy and beyond. There are myriad mysteries to be discovered, but most of them pass us by, silently and unseen.

I feel like knowing that there’s more to our universe than our tiny planet gives us a sense of perspective and an understanding of things bigger than ourselves. Knowing that Earth is relatively insignificant in the grand galaxy scheme of things keeps us humble and gets us yearning for what’s out there.

Will tomorrow’s children have the same understanding if they can’t see the night sky? Will the man in the moon be visible to future trick-or-treaters? These are questions I often ask myself.