White Sky Thinking

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An article (login possibly required) has been doing the rounds that tries to anticipate the significance of an altered sky:

A report released last week by the National Research Council called for research into reversing climate change through a process called albedo modification: reflecting sunlight away from earth by, for instance, spraying aerosols into the atmosphere. Such a process could, some say, change the appearance of the sky — and that in turn could affect everything from our physical health to the way we see ourselves.

This last point encompasses both the night sky’s role in creating mythologies, and the sky’s capacity to evoke awe: the culturally various and the ubiquitously human. The visible night sky as a thing of cultural value is something I wrote about in the piece on space heritage I mentioned last year, but since the brief was to examine space exploration I included no discussion of, say, the ethics of light pollution. Perhaps it’s becoming a topic that needs another look.

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