Approaching the summer solstice, the start of fall-semester classes and their attendant labs seems far away, but a new class of St. Lawrence first-year students will be here before I know it.
This was one of the light sources students were interrogating: a sodium lamp, like the ones used in street lights (at least in the twentieth century—LED street lamps are becoming increasingly dominant now.)
Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, a massive X-ray laser sourced from a building-sized particle accelerator, was undergoing upgrades while I visited. Construction in the area added an mundane veneer to the superscience happening inside.
This is the blue hour; sunset is over. That soft, rosy hue in the far-off sky? The product of 100% anthropogenic light.
Too early in the evening and too high in the sky to be a standard sunset: this must be some serious sci-fi gridfire weaponry. The patterns in the Crepuscular rays puts me in mind of MIRV tests, and the scale of the clouds so thoroughly dwarfs the buildings beneath it on the banks of the Hudson River. Connecting spectacular aerial views with apocalyptic power is nothing new, but the twentieth century swapped the power source from divine to human.
After dark on an empty stretch of highway, the reflective signs become hypnotic.
I love that time of the evening when the earth is dark but the sky is still blue with just hits of orange and red and the clouds have just a little pink hue.