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Our stars are disappearing from the night sky – here’s why


Star-gazing is becoming increasingly difficult in the modern world – and new research suggests it’s only getting worse.


NOIRLab, an American research center for astronomy, has found that a baby born today may be able to see 250 stars in the sky at their particular spot, for example. But, by the time they turn 18, it may drop to 100.

In fact, now about 30% of the world’s population can no longer see all the stars they should be able to see. NOIRLab what is called a citizen science program globe at nightwhere the crowdsourced results were submitted online.

And we should be able to see many thousands of stars across the Milky Way, on a clear but dark night, without any telescope, just through patient sky-watching.

Where Are The Stars Really Going?


Apparently, the stars haven’t really gone anywhere.

All of this is caused by our own light pollution – something we previously measured via satellites by observing Earth’s brightness at night – as it obscures our view of the night sky.

The US at night is a composite gathered from data obtained by the Suomi NPP satellite in April and October 2012.

HUM Image via Getty Images

But these new findings from Globe at Night suggest that our star is actually disappearing from view at a faster rate than satellite measurements previously suggested.


Astronomers have dubbed this phenomenon “sky glow,” where the night sky is illuminated by something other than natural elements such as stars and the moon.

The nighttime globe suggests an increase in sky brightness (by sky brightness) of 9.6% per year over the past decade, compared to 2% as measured by satellites.

Astronomer Connie Walker cautioned that these findings stress the “importance of doubling our efforts” to reduce “sky glare”.


The crowdsourced research, based on 50,000 observations collected from Europe and North America between 2011 and 2022, provides an estimate of the “limited magnitude of the naked eye” – a measure of how bright something needs to be before it can be seen. Measure.

How serious is sky glow?

The brightness of the sky is unnatural and disrupts the natural cycle of day and night, which means it will affect wildlife, as many animals’ instincts are governed by their response to daylight.

National Geographic has also emphasized that light pollution affects humans as well, reducing melatonin production, triggering sleep deprivation, fatigue, headaches, stress, anxiety and other health problems in humans.

And, while the study focused on findings from Europe and North America, the increased use of artificial lighting in the rest of the world means sky glow is likely to occur there too.

There are also concerns about our previous measures of what’s happening in the night sky.

“This shows that existing satellites are not sufficient to study how Earth’s night is changing,” said study lead author Christopher Kaba from the German Research Center for Geosciences.

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