Trivia

Hard

In 1994 Citizens Of Los Angeles Made 911 Calls To Report A Giant Silver Cloud That Turned Out To Be?

Experimental Aircraft
Industrial Pollution
The Milky Way
Hordes of Locusts
Photo of the Milky Way in the night sky over Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

Answer: The Milky Way

If you’ve ever gone to a dark sky preserve, backpacked deep into the wilderness, or found yourself on an ocean shore far from civilization in the depths of night, you’ve likely marveled at how beautiful the night sky is without the haze of light pollution and been amazed at what it feels like to see the breathtaking glow of the Milky Way sprawling across the night sky.

If, on the other hand, you’d lived in the city your whole life and never seen more than the brightest of stars through the fog of light pollution, you might be more than a little bit surprised to see a ghostly silver cloud glowing in the sky. With that in mind, we can find it in our hearts to forgive the citizens of Los Angeles for what seems like a bit of a silly folly during the city-wide power outage of 1994.

During the power outage, which removed the huge amount of light pollution the city of L.A. pumps into the sky, the citizens there were treated to the first clear view of the Milky Way the city had seen in decades (if not the better part of the 20th century). Many of them, unaware of what the Milky Way looked like, placed concerned calls to emergency service lines and the local police to report what appeared to be a very foreign thing in the night sky.

When the lights came back on it was business as usual and the Milky Way (and citizen concerns over aliens, Russians, and other matters) receded into the background.

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