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Almost 80% of the World's Population Live Under Light-Polluted Sky

Jun 14, 2016 02:53 AM EDT
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The world never sleeps. This may be true based on the recent findings published in Sciences Advances which states that 80 percent of the world's population is living under light pollution, making it difficult for eight out of 10 people to see the milky way galaxy at night.

Artificial lights cause light-polluted sky. The excessively bright night sky, visible worldwide, can mostly be observed in Singapore, Kuwait and Qatar, while 99 percent of the U.S. and European population have light-polluted skies.

 

Experts say that the sources of artificial light vary and the world is composed of these sources contributing to light pollution.

"Street lights are a really important component, but we also have lights from our windows in our homes and businesses, from the headlights of our cars and illuminated billboards," said Dr. Christopher Kyba, from the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, in an interview with BBC.

According to the study called "The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness", the luminance of the artificial night sky causes artificial skyglow. The paper suggests that despite the interest of scientists in different ecological expertise, there is a lack of quantification and magnitude of light pollution. The study was presented to alleviate the problem of light pollution which is currently experienced by 80 percent of the population worldwide.

Normally, in clear night skies without clouds, the Milky Way galaxy, or at least stars are supposedly visible to the naked eye. But due to light pollution, the Milky Way galaxy is now blocked to almost one-third of humanity, the study suggests.

Light-pollution also hinders astronomers to do their job. The "luminous fog" covers their view of the sky. And experts say that excessive lights during the night can also affect the behavior of animals such as moths, and can potentially influence the growth of pollinating plants, according to a report by Popular Science. The medical community is also looking at the potential hazards of excessive night light to human beings.

Aside from the biological effects of light pollution on the environment, the future generation might not be able to experience star gazing if the problem of light-pollution persists. 

 

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