Understanding the Effects of Light Pollution

Dimmer Because of Light Pollution

As cities grow and our society becomes increasingly urbanized, the Milky Way is growing dimmer due to light pollution.

Light pollution is less noticeable than other forms of pollution from factories, vehicles, and other carbon footprints.

Light pollution is defined as “the brightening of the night sky caused by street lights and other man-made sources, which has a disruptive effect on natural cycles and inhibits the observation of stars and planets.”

While electricity and artificial light may be transforming humanity for the better, its taken an unforeseen toll on people and the environment. Simply put, the World just isn't as dark as it used to be.

According to the International Dark Sky Association, less than 100 years ago, anyone on earth could look up and see the Milky Way in the dead of night. But times have changed. A recent study found more than 83% of the world’s population is severely affected by light pollution. Widespread increase of artificial light not only distorts and muddles our view of the Milky Way, it has negative impacts on both wildlife and human health.

 Smith and Morehouse, Utah

Smith and Morehouse, Utah

The American Medical Association reports light pollution contributes to impaired daytime functioning, obesity, anxiety, and poor sleep quality.

Nature is feeling these effects. Migratory birds, who use a form of celestial navigation, are becoming lost under an increasingly starless sky.

Vegetation struggles beneath an intensifying glare. Studies show that street lamps and artificial light sources stunts the flowering of plants and growth, which disrupts food chains at their source.

There is good news. Anyone can still spend quality time with the stars. All you need is a few good friends, a map to show you where the light pollution is lowest, and a reliable vehicle to get you there.

There are many fantastic places to discover the beauty of the stars, usually within an hour and a half of your home. From our LIT Outdoors family HQ, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the list of places to see the stars is nearly endless.

Head up any nearby canyon. Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons, Parleys, or Mill Creek canyon boast unparalleled views of our solar system. Solving the problem of light pollution starts with education and awareness, and a trip to watch the Milky Way is nothing short of stellar.

Best Places to See the Milky Way

Depending on where you live, it can be tough to find optimal places to catch a glimpse of the Milky Way. We decided to share a few of the best places to see the Milky Way in the U.S.

Brockway Mountain

 Au Sable Lighthouse,  Shawn Stockman-Malone

Au Sable Lighthouse, Shawn Stockman-Malone

Dead Horse Point

 Dead Horse Point, Utah,  Bret Edge

Dead Horse Point, Utah, Bret Edge

Frosty Drew

 Frosty Drew, Rhode Island,  matadornetwork.com

Frosty Drew, Rhode Island, matadornetwork.com

Acadia National Park

 Acadia National Park,  NortheastExplorer

Acadia National Park, NortheastExplorer

Curtis Cove

 Curtis Cove, Maine,  BroadLeaf Media

Curtis Cove, Maine, BroadLeaf Media

Sawtooth National Forest

 Redfish Lake, Idaho,  Patrick Abel

Redfish Lake, Idaho, Patrick Abel

Capitol Reef National Park

 Capitol Reef National Park, Utah,  Jacob W. Frank

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, Jacob W. Frank

Glacier National Park

 Glacier National Park, Montana,  Jacob W. Frank

Glacier National Park, Montana, Jacob W. Frank

Echo Lake Colorado

 Echo Lake, Colorado,  Jason Hatfield

Echo Lake, Colorado, Jason Hatfield

Death Valley National Park California

 Death Valley National Park, California,  Miguel Claro

Death Valley National Park, California, Miguel Claro

Please send us your photos of the Milky Way, and from around the world, to info@litoutdoors.com for a chance to be featured on our social channels!