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Atlas of the Night

When is an image of earth a reflection of its people?

The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness

Map of light pollution's visual impact on the night sky.  From The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, AAAS

Go directly to the source: The World Atlas of Light Pollution is now available as a book from Fabio Falchi.

Excerpted from the research article The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness:


The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness

2016 © The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). 10.1126/sciadv.1600377

Fabio Falchi,1* Pierantonio Cinzano,1 Dan Duriscoe,2 Christopher C. M. Kyba,3,4 Christopher D. Elvidge,5 Kimberly Baugh,6 Boris A. Portnov,7 Nataliya A. Rybnikova,7 Riccardo Furgoni1,8

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.

Thanks to Science Advances and AAAS for sharing this article. A PDF document that I downloaded from June 13, 2016, is at atlas-e1600377.full.pdf.

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