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Badlands [private]

We wake up in the badlands when the sun begins to rise. It was a mistake to keep walking in the dark last night. Every pathway the same, we could have walked in a hundred circles. We put our hands on the ravine walls and used the planets and the stars to orient ourselves. Walk south. We said it, “South, south, south, please, south.” But the planets and the stars, they shifted themselves. Venus, the North Star, Orion’s Belt, they hung themselves in different places each time we looked up. The moon set and the ravine walls became black as the sky and the stars were so bright and close we felt as though we were wading through the dark matter the universe is made of. We had to lie down, we had to sleep.


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Photo by Damon Casarez

The Sky Is Calling

On February 14, 2017, Jim Edwards spoke with Jack Hitt as part of the ongoing series “Amateur Hour,” in which various tinkerers, zealots, and collectors discuss their obsessions. Edwards is a retired aerospace engineer with a passionate interest in astronomy and space exploration. His home observatory in Redondo Beach, California, is designated U73 by the Minor Planet Center for his collection of asteroid data. Edwards has recently been collecting data on the exoplanet WASP-33b. The conversation that follows has been edited for brevity and meaning.

Photo by Gary Honis

Night Moves

July 5, 2016

In "Night Moves," Amanda Petrusich visits Cherry Springs State Park, a Pennsylvania swath of night sky, where light pollution and fracking threaten the existence of one of the darkest places in America.