Can you see the night sky clearly from where you live? Probably not. According to a new study on light pollution, more than 33% of the humanity can’t view the Milky Way galaxy. And the situation is even worse in North America and Europe despite their vast open spaces. Due to excessive artificial light, the Milky Way is invisible to nearly 80% North Americans and 60% Europeans.
Singapore most light polluted country
Light pollution is a phenomenon when a blanket of artificial light blocks our view of the stars. According to a study published Friday in Science Advances, light pollution is no longer a concern for only professional astronomers. It profoundly alters a fundamental human experience: our opportunity to “view and ponder the night sky,” said lead author Fabio Falchi.
Researchers used the New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness for the study. It is a detailed set of maps that effectively tracks how bright the sky is when it should be dark around the world. The maps were based on satellite data and brightness measurements taken by volunteers around the world. It took scientists from Italy, the US, Germany and Israel more than six years to complete the project.
Singapore is the world’s most light-polluted country where the entire population cannot see the night sky clearly. Kuwait (98%) comes next, followed by Qatar (97%), United Arab Emirates (93%) and Saudi Arabia (83%). In Western Europe, only small areas in Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Spain and Austria remain undiminished by light pollution. Residents of Germany, Canada, Australia and India are most likely to be able to see the milky way from their home.
Why should you care about light pollution?
Countries where people are least affected by light pollution are Chad, Madagascar, and the Central African Republic. Light pollution is a serious environmental problem. It can affect our culture, lead to ecological problems, and cause health issues. For instance, the blue spectrum in artificial light can alter our circadian rhythms that regulate our body, and impact production of certain hormones.