“We saw the same sort of effect during the “Great Recession,” as demand for petroleum waned and prices sank,” said Barentine, who tweeted a couple of still images from the VIIRS instrument aboard the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite from January 24, 2020 (new moon) and April 24, 2020 (three nights after new moon): The light output of cities remains pretty constant between the two dates, but the number and distribution of lights on the oil plays changes noticeably. 2 – In public spaces, think about how we can use light differently to the same ends. But many of us are still constrained by the effects of light pollution on the night sky. You may opt-out by. “Getting a view of the stars in a city isn’t completely impossible,” said Zoltan Toth-Czifra from Under Lucky Stars. Less air pollution, less light pollution, more stars. The photography contest started in 2009 as an attempt to promote the night sky as a natural good that should be conserved and protected. Can Flagstaff’s success be replicated? And since 80% of the world’s population lives under light-polluted skies, we’re ruining our chances to see them. “More people are probably stargazing now on a regular basis than in the past few decades and if people live where there is light pollution and they have a hard time seeing the stars, know that this is not an inevitable outcome.”, “Once we start making changes, the situation begins to benefit the nighttime environment immediately.”. The light pollution map has two base layers (road and hybrid Bing maps), VIIRS/World Atlas/Clouds overlays and a point feature overlay (SQM, SQC and Observatories). We will never be able to stop using artificial light but we can change how we use it and when we use it. It won the second prize in the “Lights” category. latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more, Snorting chicken antibodies may protect us from Covid-19, Covid-19 face masks with valves don’t work, ‘Sobering-up machine’ will cure hangovers three times faster, Remote working for good? Is that even possible? © 2020 Quartz Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Also this “fake” photo from Moscow, the city most affected by light pollution: Moscow as it could be without light pollution – NOT a real photo! Over the last few weeks we’ve had a string of astronomical events to look up at, including meteor showers, a supermoon and Elon Musk’s string of Starlink satellites. Light pollution is disrupting the cycle of life. And it’s that struggle that The World at Night’s 6th International Earth and Sky Photo Contest tries to highlight, showing us images of how the world would look if we controlled light pollution. The trick is to plan ahead, get as high (or as far) as you can and remove any close sources of light.’. In the video above, timelapse artists Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic combine timelapse astrophotography—filmed at some of the darkest skies in North America&mdas;and splice the footage with night timelapses of major urban centers like Los Angeles. Eiffel tower is just one large source of light pollution in the French capital: This Is How To Bring Dark Skies Back In An Increasingly Developed World, EY & Citi On The Importance Of Resilience And Innovation, Impact 50: Investors Seeking Profit — And Pushing For Change, from the VIIRS instrument aboard the NASA/NOAA. “We don’t have any clear evidence that it has affected the brightness of the night sky as seen from the ground.”. Getting other towns and cities to reduce light consumption per capita to Flagstaff levels would mean 42–88% reductions in average all-sky glow, according to a 2013 paper, but light pollution scales with the size of the population. However, in a massive metropolis like New York City that same view would necessitate reducing the sky brightness by a factor of 100. And this one of Paris (again, not a real photo), which lights from the Eiffel tower is just one large source of light pollution in the French capital: Paris as it could be without light pollution – NOT a real photo! Which is what makes a new photo series exploring what the heavens would look like without it even more interesting. Put simply, a huge effort to reduce light pollution in Tucson (something Barentine himself published a paper about in 2018) could make the Milky Way clearly visible. ‘Surrounded by stars, planets and galaxies, we are just one part of a much bigger picture, but it’s impossible to see that in our metropolitan world,’ explained Zoltan Toth-Czifra from Under Lucky Stars. “For a city to function, it will still need artificial light at night, and whether through reflections from the ground or by other means, some of that light will inevitably end up in the night sky.”. So abandon all hope of seeing the Milky Way from a CBD. They use real images of city skylines captured by photographers, but light pollution has been digitally replaced to show a night sky from somewhere else on the planet. Like this one of Dubai, where the iconic 830m-tall Burj Khalifa dominates the skyscraper-filled skyline (spoiler alert: this is not a real photo! ‘Light pollution has made the view blank, but getting a view of the stars in a city isn’t completely impossible. These are some of our most ambitious editorial projects. Here are five things to look for in a work laptop, ‘A wake-up call’: how Pfizer’s Covid vaccine could transform the world. “It seems to mix up various ‘what world cities would look like without light pollution’ media stories from recent years with anecdotal reports of slowing down of various commercial and industrial activities in certain cities during the pandemic,” says Barentine. Photos: What the sky should look like without light pollution. The World at Night is a volunteer effort operating under Astronomers Without Borders, a US nonprofit focused on fostering interest in astronomy, in collaboration with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. I inspire people to go stargazing, watch the Moon, enjoy the night sky. Moonlit Darklings, an image of Mount Rainier in Washington under the moonlight and the reflection of the Milky Way, won Brad Goldpaint second prize in the “Beauty” category. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. “I have been taking measurements in Tucson throughout the pandemic, and I can’t say I sense any difference in the sky brightness from my house on the east side of town,” says Barentine, who thinks that some world cities have dimmed in recent weeks and months, while others have brightened. New York City as it could look without light pollution – NOT a real photo! “I keep an eye on some permanently installed sky brightness monitors that report to the web, and it doesn’t seem there is any significant change anywhere … in some places we see the light getting apparently brighter as seen from orbit.”, “We may be seeing two separate effects: true reductions in light consumption making cities appear less bright than before the pandemic, and air pollution reductions that are letting more light up to be detected by satellites, making images of the cities more bright than before,” said Barentine. Unless, that is, you’re in Flagstaff, Arizona. Exactly how useful are these make-believe images? As the price of crude oil plummeted in recent weeks, U.S. oil producers have started shuttering production facilities on certain oil plays in the U.S., particularly in Texas. “The short answer is that we don’t yet know definitively.”. It’s also home to the awesome Lowell Observatory, which is a must-visit if you’re in the area—it’s right off Route 66! Called Lost in Light, the clip demonstrates just what we're missing out on in the night sky, thanks to light pollution, counting down from San Jose (light pollution level 8) to the Eureka Dunes in Death Valley (light pollution level 1).By the end, you'll want to hurry off to the nearest wilderness for some serious star gazing.