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This Great Big Story was made possible by Wells Fargo.
Established 1852. Re-Established 2018.
- [Voiceover] There's a lot to love about living in a big, bright city.
People, culture, late-night food.
But there's something missing.
It's there, but you can't see it.
The night sky.
This is the story about a small town in Colorado.
- Actually, two small towns in Colorado.
- [Voiceover] That are devoted to space.
- [Christy] Westcliffe has a population of 564 residents,
and Silver Cliff has a population of 575.
This used to be a mining community
and then it evolved into a railroad community,
and then into a ranching community.
We're always looking to do something
that will bring people into our community,
and lately that seems to be we need to invest in our sky.
- [Voiceover] So they made light pollution their enemy.
They darkened their towns so that the night sky
could become their star attraction.
- Have you ever seen the Milky Way,
that goes from horizon to horizon?
88% of the world's population
has never seen the Milky Way.
It's the most magnificent thing in the world.
That's what we see here.
- [Voiceover] But for the towns to go dark
they needed to cover all of their lights,
not just streetlamps,
but the lights outside every house and ranch near town.
- That wasn't easy.
This is a frontier town, and I can tell you,
frontier people don't like being told what to do.
We had to win their hearts and minds.
- [Voiceover] It took 10 years.
They passed ordinances,
raised money to cover the streetlights,
and even build an observatory.
And the darker the town became,
the more people saw the light.
This year, the valley's dark sky was designated
as one of the darkest in the world,
drawing visitors from all over.
- [Man] Okay.
- Might need a six-pack though (chuckles).
Well I was really hopin' we'd be able to see Saturn by now.
- Yeah, me too.
- That a community would decide to dim its lights
and help everyone to appreciate the beauty
of the night sky is an amazing thing.
- You come to a place like this
and the stars just, burst,
and it's remarkable.
- Not a lot of people are lucky enough to see the dark sky as our ancestors saw it,
and I feel that we're a very special place
to be able to look at the stars
as people did thousands of years ago.
- It's a humbling thing.
Suddenly you realize you can almost touch it
and you're now a part of the bigger universe.
And so it's just a wonderful experience
to see the dark skies.
That's what we're tryin' to preserve.
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The Towns That Embraced Darkness to See Starlight

4311 Folder Collection
Evangeline published on July 5, 2018    B.Y.l translated    Evangeline reviewed
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