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Message to the Stars by Ari Kutzer

3rd Place - Natural Category

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School: Cherry Creek High School

Teacher: Whitney Mernitz

Taken around midnight in Keystone, Colorado, this photograph perfectly demonstrates the electromagnetic radiation of light, and the effects of light reflection (or the absence of reflection) in our world and universe. When viewing the night sky in any medium/large city in the world, a clear view of the stars and the milky way is most likely out of the question. This is because the artificial light produced by street lights, office buildings, transportation vehicles, and more, reflect off of the clouds or turbulence in the air and obstruct our view of what’s beyond. When in an area of minimal light pollution (such as the location of this photo), one can extend the amount of time a camera’s shutter is absorbing light for a single image without absorbing artificial light. Given this, the camera’s extremely sensitive sensor can then absorb the smaller amounts of light from outside of our atmosphere, even across our solar system. An excess of water particles in the air caused by a humid atmosphere resulted in increased reflections of light (specifically, the light from my powerful and sharply-focused LED flashlight).

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