Sunday, June 11, 2006

Light Pollution

This night-time satellite image gives you an idea of how much artificial lighting (light pollution) there is in the US. If you'd like to see all of Earth at night, just click on the photo.

A bit of an insomniac at times*, I had some time on my hands tonight. With nothing worthwhile to watch on TV, I took a look outside and wished it was darker out so I could see the stars and fully enjoy the peacefulness that only comes at night (around here anyway). I rarely get to see stars clearly unless I'm far away from urban areas.

I found the Wikipedia information quite interesting and didn't realize until now that light pollution had become such an important issue, with a global dark sky movement emerging back in the early 1980's. Considering that some observatories have been rendered useless due to light pollution resulting from urban sprawl, I wonder how badly the lit up night sky in central Broward has affected the Buehler Planetarium and Observatory.

*In case anyone was wondering, though I really like the movie Sleepless in Seattle (not the sick-o version below), I actually came up with my blog's name while awake in the middle of the night.


At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Rick said...

Amazing how many large areas of "darkness" there are in other continents when you enlarge the photo and take a closer look.

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Sleepless said...

The enlarged image also gives you a good indication of where the world's population is concentrated. The eastern half of the U.S., western U.S. coastal cities, Europe and Japan seem to be the largest land masses with the most concentrated light pollution. It's interesting to note how visible even places such as the Hawaiian islands, Canary Islands, and the two islands off the coast of Madagascar are.


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