Darryl Van Gaal

December 2014 - Septeamber 2017
The Marshall Conant Science Building, 5th. floor

Why do I spend hours alone, capturing images of the night sky? In short, because I can, and because I care!!

Back in 1600’s when Galileo Galilei was looking through his homemade telescopes and publishing books about his findings, the night skies were so dark that the Milky Way Galaxy, Jupiter and Venus were bright enough to cast shadows on the ground. Today most people in North America have never seen the Milky Way, it’s not that the stars are any less bright today, it’s that the glow from artificial light, and polluted skies are affecting our ability to see the stars.

In 2003 when the Northeast blackout occurred, 911 operators in North American cities received calls about a “Strange Silvery Cloud” in the night sky. For many, that was the first, and the last time they’ll ever see the Milky Way with their own eyes. Unless we, as the caretakers of the earth, start using dark sky friendly lighting and take measures to reduce both the light and air pollution we release into the skies above, we may be one of the last generations able to see the Milky Way. If my work inspires at least one person to become an advocate for the night sky, it will have been worth every second of time I’ve spent alone in the dark, or in the cold, with my lens pointed skyward.

-Darryl W. Van Gaal

Visit the artist's website; Dark Clear Skies, for more images and tutorials on astrophotography.