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One-third of humanity can't see Milky Way

One-third of humanity can't see Milky WayA new analysis using satellite data and sky brightness measurements has found that the Milky Way is hidden from more than one-third of humanity, including 60 percent of Europeans and nearly 80 percent of North Americans. The research was reported in the journal Science Advances.

The researchers calculated several degrees of light pollution, starting from the level at which artificial light obscures astronomical observations up to the level at which the midnight sky is as bright as it is at twilight. Their calculations show that more than 80 percent of the world and more than 99 percent of U.S. and European populations live under light-polluted skies.

This level of pollution may have negative consequences, ranging from harming animals’ life cycles to affecting human health and even psychology by taking away one of the most positive experiences that’s naturally available, experts said.

“Light pollution is one of the most pervasive forms of environmental alteration,” the researchers wrote in their analysis of global light pollution. “It affects even otherwise pristine sites because it is easily observed during the night hundreds of kilometers from its source in landscapes that seem untouched by humans during the day.”

The most light-polluted country is Singapore, where people live under skies so bright that the eye cannot fully adapt to night vision, the researchers said. Other countries with high levels of light pollution include Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Israel, Argentina, Libya, and Trinidad and Tobago. Countries with populations least affected by light pollution are Chad, the Central African Republic and Madagascar.

Via: Huffington Post
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