‘Night Sky’ exhibit at Adler Planetarium shows the stars you should see in Chicago

WGN Weekend Morning News
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CHICAGO — The stars inside the Atwood sphere pop in the darkness. But the stars in Chicago’s night sky aren’t so clear.

A new exhibit at Adler Planetarium inside the Atwood Sphere teachers stargazers to protect the dark sky.

“Chicago’s Night Sky” shows how lights are designed and how they can be designed to preserve our night sky.

“These days often with more artificial light, it’s harder and harder to get a good view of the sky,” Vice President of Astronomy and Collections Andrew Johnston said. “So one of the things people can learn is how lights are designed in a way, and can be designed in a way to limit light pollution and preserve our view of the sky.”

According to the planetarium, in a truly dark sky, you can see up to 4,500 stars. But in Chicago, due to light pollution, you can only see 35.

The best example of how officials can limit light pollutions is with new street lights.

“When you install new lights, we don’t want the light going everywhere, both up and down,” Johnston said. “We want that light concentrated where you need it at night.”

Another factor is the color of light and how bright they are.

LED lights may lower your electric bill, but they could also be impacting the night sky and the environment.

This aerial view of Chicago in the exhibit shows all of the artificial light in the city.

Johnston says while the city is working to change all street lights to LED to lower energy, it’s important for all of us to do our part to preserve the night sky.

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