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.