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Forrest Hamilton

Forrest Hamilton

There can be little doubt about Forrest Hamilton's dedication to the night skies. Once, on a late-hour outdoor trip during college, he was right in the middle of a 20 minute exposure for an astrophoto when a raccoon sneaked up on his midnight snack - chocolate chip cookies in a sealed plastic container. No shooshing could stop the little rascal from attacking the goodies, but Hamilton sacrificed them rather than giving up his photo.

But then, wide vistas of the night sky had always been a part of his life as he and his 12 sisters and brothers grew up in the country just north of Grass Creek, Indiana. After he received his B.S. in Astrophysics from the Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, he went on to become a programmer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. Neon signs and street lamps outshine the ancient light from the stars in this populated area. But at least once a year Hamiltion tries to escape the rat race and go to the darkest spot he can find to be inspired by the grandeur of the Milky Way, the aurora borealis and other nighttime wonders (he even builds his own telescopes). Pristine night skies, though, are becoming harder to find, as light pollution creeps into former dark spots. This motivated Hamilton to volunteer as a web master for the International Dark-Sky Association to help save the awesome night vistas for others - among them his two boys.