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Sci Adv. 2016 Jun 10;2(6):e1600377. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.1600377. eCollection 2016 Jun.

The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness.

Author information

1
Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia dell'Inquinamento Luminoso (Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute), 36016 Thiene, Italy.
2
National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, Fort Collins, CO 80525, USA.
3
Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, Potsdam, Germany.; Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany.
4
Earth Observation Group, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information, Boulder, CO 80305, USA.
5
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
6
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, Faculty of Management, University of Haifa, 3498838 Haifa, Israel.
7
Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologia dell'Inquinamento Luminoso (Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute), 36016 Thiene, Italy.; American Association of Variable Star Observers, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Abstract

Artificial lights raise night sky luminance, creating the most visible effect of light pollution-artificial skyglow. Despite the increasing interest among scientists in fields such as ecology, astronomy, health care, and land-use planning, light pollution lacks a current quantification of its magnitude on a global scale. To overcome this, we present the world atlas of artificial sky luminance, computed with our light pollution propagation software using new high-resolution satellite data and new precision sky brightness measurements. This atlas shows that more than 80% of the world and more than 99% of the U.S. and European populations live under light-polluted skies. The Milky Way is hidden from more than one-third of humanity, including 60% of Europeans and nearly 80% of North Americans. Moreover, 23% of the world's land surfaces between 75°N and 60°S, 88% of Europe, and almost half of the United States experience light-polluted nights.

KEYWORDS:

astronomy; environmental protection; light pollution

PMID:
27386582
PMCID:
PMC4928945
DOI:
10.1126/sciadv.1600377
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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