An amazing new study finds that light pollution is making the incredible night sky invisible to most of us.
The night sky is nothing but a deep, black void for most of us in Europe and America, and indeed most of the world.
That’s because of light pollution, which drowns out the natural light of the heavens and the billions of galaxies that dot the night sky. Our cities are lit 24 hours a day, seven days a week with artificial light, and now as a result, a shocking number of us on the planet can’t see the galaxy in which we reside in the night sky, according to a study published in Science Advances.
The study found that a third of the world’s population can’t see the Milky Way, and the majority of Americans and Europeans. An international team of scientists figured this out by creating a map of artificial light intensity around the world. They found that not only are we not able to see the galaxy much of the time, but artificial light interferes with our ability to see the stars in the sky for 99 percent of Americans and 83 percent of Europeans, as well as a majority of the rest of the world.
“The atlas documents a world that is in many places awash with light,” the statement reads. “In Western Europe, only a few small areas remain where the night sky remains relatively unpolluted, including areas in Scotland, Sweden, Norway, and parts of Spain and Austria. In addition to a world map, the scientists provide tables showing the area of each country and what fraction of its population live under highly light polluted skies. The authors specifically examined the G20 countries, finding that in terms of area, Italy and South Korea are the most polluted, and Canada and Australia the least. Residents of India and Germany are most likely to be able to see the Milky Way from their home, while those in Saudi Arabia and South Korea are least likely.”