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New Global Atlas developed for Light Pollution: Study

This image of the continental United States at night is a composite assembled from data acquired. (Image Courtesy: Google)

Pollution is one of the greatest concerns of the world. Adding to the list current findings shows that even light pollution is causing concerns.

Constantly lit cities of many of the regions of the world have resulted in glowing light over this regions which results in increase in light pollution.

Experts have revealed that one in three people are unable to see the brilliant river of stars which is making up the milky way which also includes 80 percent of the Americans.

Experts have successfully created a global atlas for the light pollution which is likely to see the beautiful dim glowing band across the sky – much of in the Italy and South Korea.

Scientists created a world atlas that shows the prevalence of artificial sky brightness. (Image Courtesy: Google)
                  Scientists created a world atlas that shows the prevalence of artificial sky brightness. (Image Courtesy: Google)

Light Pollution: A major cause of problem

Light pollution is one of the major problem for majority of the developed countries and is resulting in constantly lit cities which is creating a luminous fog or a type of sky glow which is swamping the constellations and stars of night sky.

Chris Elvidge who is a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Center for Environmental Information in the Boulder, Colorado says that, “We’ve got whole generations of people in the United States who have never seen the Milky Way. It’s a big part of our connection to the cosmos – and it’s been lost.”

Dr. Elvidge who is a part of the team which has used high resolution of the satellite data for the precise measurements of the brightness of the sky for the production of global atlas of the light pollution.

It is been claimed by the group that it is the most accurate measurement done yet.

Fabio Falchi, who led the New World Atlas of the Artificial Sky Brightness project, with the map of light pollution in Europe. (Image Courtesy: Google)
Fabio Falchi, who led the New World Atlas of the Artificial Sky Brightness project, with the map of light pollution in Europe. (Image Courtesy: Google)

Effect of Light pollution over different locations:

By use of the lower light imaging via Suomi National Polar Orbiting partnership satellite and also the ground observers from around 20,865 locations from around the world, international team found that light pollution is one of the most extensive in countries which include Singapore, Italy and even South Korea.

Fabio Falchi who is from the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute located in Italy says, “The new atlas provides a critical documentation of the state of the night environment as we stand on the cusp of a worldwide transition to LED technology.

Unless careful consideration is given to LED color and lighting levels, this transition could unfortunately lead to a two to three fold increase in sky glow on clear nights.”

Focusing on light pollution in G20 countries, in terms of area, experts have found that Italy and South Korea are most polluted while Canada and Australia are the least.

Residents from the regions of India and Germany are quite likely to see the Milky Way from their home, while those from the regions of Saudi Arabia and South Korea are the least.

Nights polluted with light:

In spite of the widely open spaces of American West, half of the US is experiencing the nights being polluted with light.

Co-author of the study Dan Duriscoe from the National Park Service commenting over the same said, “In the US some of our national parks are just about the last refuge of darkness – places like Yellowstone and the desert southwest.”

Unnatural light can often confuse or expose the wildlife like insects, birds and sea turtles which are often faced with fatal consequences.

This light pollution can be controlled by shielding the light to limited area, or simply turning them off when it requires a change in the behavior of human which is quite difficult to achieve.

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