Every summer, landscape photographers and night sky enthusiasts head out of their homes to view the Milky Way after doing extensive research on when the best nights to view the galaxy are. Michael Shainblum even offered some advice and told us his favorite locations to photograph the night skies in the western United States. Sadly, though, based on information released in the latest Journal of Science Advances, star seekers are increasingly finding it more difficult to see the Milky Way, as increased amount of light pollution have made it so 80% of North Americans can no longer see the galactic marvel.
If that seems like a lot, consider the alternative. No one in Singapore can see the Milky Way, as “100% of the population lives under skies so bright that the eye cannot fully dark-adapt to night vision,” according to the study. Singapore is closely followed by Kuwait(98%), Qatar(97%), and the United Arab Emirites(93%), whereas the African countries of Chad, Central African Republic, and Madagascar have populations least affected by light pollution, therefore, allowing most of the population to still see near pristine night skies.
The study is a reminder that the ever increasing world population has lasting consequences for us and our children. For photographers who live to capture these beautiful scenes, this should serve as a wake-up call that our future generations will not have the same night sky views that we are lucky enough to seek out.
Check out some incredible photos and time-lapse films
that highlight the beauty of the Milky Way.
Below are some photos that should help inspire you to step up and act now to save the starry skies for our future generations.