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The City Dark explores the deep reaches of what’s important about the night sky

I never knew what was up there until I began regularly visiting the west. On a trip to Moab one year my wife and I pulled over on Utah Highway 128 out of Grand Junction because we noticed something highly unusual in the night sky: bright, bright stars. Lots and lots of them. We were still living on the east coast at that time and we just never knew what true darkness looked like.

Growing up in the suburban east never encouraged me to understand what darkness meant. Deep, tar-black night is hard to come by in the way most of us live today. Maybe it’s because we’ve become so accustomed to needing the comfort of light and too driven by unaccounted for fears of the dark. Given what I now know about what thrives above us in the Milky Way, I often find myself craving the solitude of vacant land at night somewhere in the West just so I can be reminded of how much more there is to the universe.

There’s a great line in this trailer for “The City Dark” that I think would make a great tagline: “When we add light to the environment, it’s an alteration of habitat.”

I’ve never thought of it that way before. I will now, though.

“The City Dark” is in theaters now. But go see a matinee.

The City Dark / Trailer

THE CITY DARK is a feature documentary about light pollution and the disappearing night sky. After moving to light-polluted New York City from rural Maine, filmmaker Ian Cheney asks: "Do we need the dark?"

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