Bag Those Beams

Who cares about light pollution? Astronomers, sure. But also folks who just want to see the stars again

For years, the towering buttes along Interstate 40 in Arizona were surpassed in majesty only by the desert's night sky--a ceiling of ink glittering with stars and frosted with iridescent wisps of Milky Way. Today, however, the once pristine views from I-40 and various scenic byways across the U.S. are being whitewashed by floodlit roadside businesses whose commercial glow obscures the heavenly lights for miles around.

"The stars are an endangered species," complains Wini Brewer, a Morongo Valley, Calif., artist who purchased five acres of desert property for its starry vista in 1996 but is now mired in squabbles with...

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