Saturday, June 11, 2016

The New World Atlas of Light Pollution

Only 12% of Europe is not affected by light pollution and because most Europeans live within the 88% of Europe which is affected by light pollution 99% of Europeans live under light polluted skies. If you live in Paris and you want to see the Milky Way you would need to travel over 900 km to Corsica, Central Scotland or to the Cuenca province in Spain to reach an area not significantly affected by light pollution.

In the USA almost half of the country has light pollution and again around 99% of the population live under these light polluted skies.

Yesterday a team of researchers, led by Fabio Falchi, published The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness. This new atlas shows light pollution around the world, with light pollution rated as a ratio to natural sky brightness, measured at around 1 a.m..

The scientific paper accompanying the new atlas explains how the team measures light pollution and explores in more depth which populations around the world are most and least affected by light pollution. However, if you want to explore The New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness for yourself, you can view an interactive version of the map created by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

CIRES has created both an interactive map and an interactive 3D Globe from the new light pollution atlas and says that it will also soon release a KMZ data file for noncommercial use.

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