Carnegie Mellon University

milky way

New Science Fiction Novel Brings Awareness to Light Pollution 

When was the last time you looked up from a dark spot on the earth, free from artificial light, and could see out into the depths of our infinite universe?”. This question is posed to readers in the introduction of the anthology Triangulation: Dark Skies, a collection of 21 short stories all centered around the pervasiveness of light pollution. With pieces selected from over 200 submissions, the collection is a mixture of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror and all have very different takes on the central theme, like how would Peter Pan get back to Neverland if there was no "second star to the right". 

Diane Turnshek, a faculty member of CMU’s Physics Department, and editor for Triangulation: Dark Skies, posed this prompt to the writing community to bring awareness to the impacts of light pollution. Light pollution is excessive misdirected light at night.  Besides reducing star visibility, which has obvious impacts on astronomers, light pollution is quickly changing ecosystems around the world and has there is reason to believe that there are serious health implications for humans. Turnshek leads the Light Pollution Mapping Project which uses drones to map out light and its source here in the area. Once completed, this project would make Pittsburgh the only city with a high-end night time map, which Turnshek is hoping will make Pittsburgh a hub for light pollution research. 

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