Saturday, February 25, 2023

Lightship Earth

Dutch broadcasting company KRO-NCRV has released an interactive map which visualizes light pollution in the Netherlands. Spaceship Earth allows you to enter any address in the Netherlands to discover how many stars can be seen from that location. The map also explores some of the most (and least) light polluted areas in the country.

Spaceship Earth begins with a little scrollytelling tour of the Netherlands which uses night-time satellite imagery to visualize the scale of the light pollution in the country. This tour takes you to the Westland, where huge greenhouses are lit up at night (to speed-up the growth of crops) and which severely limit the number of stars which can be seen at night. The tour also takes you to the Drenkelingenhuisje dark sky park, where it is possible to see more than 10,000 stars at night.

If you scroll to the end of Spaceship Earth you can enter a Dutch postcode or address to see how many stars are visible at that location. The colors of buildings on the map reflect the number of stars which can be observed in the night sky from there. If you zoom in and click on any individual building an information window will reveal the exact number of stars that are visible from the selected building.

If you live outside of the Netherlands then you can explore the Light Pollution Map to find out more about light pollution in your country. In fact this interactive map allows you to explore the whole world as it appears at night using VIIRS (infrared imaging) data collected by satellites.

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