• McKinley Valentine

Eerie ecosystem 2: Sky Beam


Luxor pyramid casino with skybeam

It can't really compete with whalefall, but the Luxor Sky Beam is the strongest beam of light in the world, and it beams into the sky above the Luxor hotel and casino in Las Vegas. (You've probably seen images of it, it has a to-scale replica of the Pyramids, Sphynx, and King Tutankhamen's tomb.)


The Sky Beam "uses computer-designed, curved mirrors to collect the light from 39 xenon lamps and focus them into one intense, narrow beam." The lamp room is 150 C (300 F) when the beam is on, so throwing someone into that room would be a good Bond villain death. "Looks like it's lights out for that guy," you could say.


Anyway the Sky Beam can be seen from 450km (275mi) away so it attracts more moths than any other thing has ever in the history of the world. And the moths attract massive bat swarms, and the bat swarms attract owls.


"We don't have a position on the bats," said Luxor spokeswoman Hillary Bernstein.

------------------------------ For more like this, subscribe to my fortnightly newsletter, The Whippet.