How To Hack Your Street Lamps Like An Astronaut

A bright street lamp can ruin a night of stargazing, saturating your retinas with light and washing out the comparatively faint glow of constellations and meteors. Here's a handy hack you can use the next time you need to put one temporarily (and reversibly) out of business, courtesy of NASA astronaut Don Pettit.


Pettit shows up about a minute into the latest episode of the outstanding YouTube series Smarter Every Day, in which host Destin announces his plans to release a video every month devoted to space tech and the people who build and use that tech. That's exciting, because it means Destin will be hanging out with people like astronauts! Astronauts like Pettit! I won't ruin Pettit's hack for you (if you're familiar with him, you know it's fun to watch him explain things). Suffice to say it's pretty clever. Just make sure, if you try it for yourself, to do so responsibly.

Pettit is a personal favorite of mine. Not only is he smart, he's also remarkably resourceful, whether he's using a CD player to demonstrate gyroscopic stability in microgravity, playing with a yo-yo in space, or inventing a zero-g coffee cup.


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Better check with local laws because you can get in trouble for this in some places. It's illegal to play with those street lights in Colorado. Boys got lazer pens taken from the cops for it.