A new atlas reveals where light pollution obscures the night sky
F. Falchi et al/Science Advances 2016
At night, a river of stars cuts through the dense darkness of space. These celestial bodies form our galaxy’s core and their soft glow earned our galaxy the moniker “Milky Way.” But for more than a third of Earth’s population, the glare of artificial lights conceals this cosmic wonder from view, researchers report June 10 in Science Advances. Nearly 80 percent of North Americans and 60 percent of Europeans can no longer see the galactic core at night, the researchers estimate.
Using a combination of satellite measurements and on-the-ground observations, the researchers assembled the first global atlas of artificial sky luminance, recording light pollution from everything from streetlamps to spotlights. Nearly four in five people worldwide live under light-polluted skies, the atlas reveals. Singapore boasts the brightest nights, the team found, with skies so luminous that no one