Catching Up With Ian Cheney of ‘The City Dark’ | POV Films Blog | PBS

Catching Up With Ian Cheney of ‘The City Dark’ | POV Films Blog | PBS.

The City Dark by Ian Cheney

Feature Film on American Documentary | POV by PBS

Most people look at the sky and are not aware at what they are looking at.  They may see a meteor and think it is a UFO.  I have never been to an observatory and I plan on changing that.  I would like to make a list of locations for great observatories and visit them.  I have always been fascinated by astronomy and the sky, especially the stars at night.

This movie is more about light pollution, where the lights create a dust in the air or in our atmosphere.  1879 was the invention of the first light bulb.  Some light bulbs get so hot that you can actually cook on them.  Is that crazy or what?

If you want to observe the sky, you have to go where there is basically nothing, a void.  The less light around you the better your ability to see the stars and sky above.  I love looking at the night sky, especially on the beach where there is little obstruction of your view and you can lay down on the sand and just gaze off into the natural beauty of the night.

Two-thirds of all humans live under a night sky polluted by light.  From Indonesia and China and Thailand to Canada and Peru and Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and New York.

Sky glow can be intense, even in small towns.  The glow in the night is also effecting the animals and their migration.  Sea turtles when hatched from the sand are not able to properly find their way to the water because they are going towards the light on land instead of in the ocean.  Now they are a threatened species because they are lost due to their disorientation and the light pollution.

So the necessity becomes how do we reduce what we use and still be able to see?  Darker areas tend to be more disturbed areas.  The more lights you have the more safer it tends to be, not proven for sure but just maybe this is the case.

There are lights everywhere.  Parking lots, shopping centers, gas stations, dealerships, houses, street corners and so much more.  Is it all our fault? Can we make a difference? Those are questions to think about.  We need to be able to see since there are more of us moving around today than say 50 or so years ago.  There are more driving, walking, biking, and just being and we have to be able to see where we are going.

People work 24 hours a day and you need light to see what you do.  Not only do people work around the clock, people like to hang out and have fun around the clock as well.

Hayden Planetarium, New York City

Yes, New York City.  How can you talk about something so amazing like the night sky without mentioning New York.  First place on my list of planetarium’s that I want to see.

Sky Village, Arizona

Darkest sky in the southwestern US, said to be the best place.  Astrophotographers love this site with their high speed camera lenses and astrograph equipment and much more.  Those that go there all love the night sky.

Hawaiian Islands

One of the best images is when the Milky Way rises above the earth, total awesomeness. Hawaiian Islands is said to be the best place to view the night sky with its clear air and clear sky.

Chicago Bird Collision Team

They find roughly 4,000 birds a year that have collided/crashed into things because they have gotten confused with what is the light of the sky and light on buildings in cities.  A building did research by shutting off the lights on half and keeping them on other the other.  The side with the lights off showed a significant reduction in the number of bird deaths.


Breast Cancer Risks have been going up one to two percent every year and it is the number one killer of women.  Women who do shift work are at a higher risk than those who do not do shift work.  This is true for most other cancers as well and not just in women.  “Light can be harmful, anything that can heal, if used inappropriately can also harm,” George Brainard, Neurologist at Thomas Jefferson University.  Light comes in through the eye right to the center of the brain.  More melatonin is produced at night than during the day.

Light as Art

We see in may places where light is used as art.  Take the Empire State Building, World Trade Center, Las Vegas, and a number of other places.

Ultimate Goal

Bring back the stars.  The ones in the sky that naturally light the night and show us the way and give us cause and hope and reason to be.  “Bringing back the night sky and the stars is like a resetting of your ego!”  Lighting the city in a more careful way where we can show the light but hide the light source to make it safe.  Half of what we see from space is wasted energy.  There are lights that direct light downward and not up and out and down.  Only put light where you need it.

This post is my recap of the movie, I hope you stroll over and view it yourself.  It is amazing and greatly crafted.

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