Who turned off the stars? Light pollution
A star field in the constellation Cepheus.
April 5th, 2012
03:12 PM ET

Who turned off the stars? Light pollution

When you look up at the night sky on a clear night, you probably mutter "wow, look at all those stars." Well, if you live anywhere near a big city, you don't know the half of it.

What you may not realize is that you're suffering from light pollution. The sky is so washed out by excess urban lighting that instead of seeing thousands and thousands of stars, you may be seeing only hundreds - or sadly, maybe only dozens.

And, as we lose sight of more and more stars to light pollution, we lose a connection to the universe. We may even lose a little bit of our souls.

Click on the audio player above to learn more.

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (390 Responses)
  1. Gary S

    How true. When I was in the Navy I marveled how I could actually read a book by starlight when out beyond the 200 mile limit. the stars were truly amazing.

    April 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  2. Jack

    Now that we have educated all of the inner city kids about light pollution, can we move on to a real issue.

    April 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • DDM

      Bigger problems are due to this very issue, such as effect on migrating birds, turtles, etc. not being able to find their way. Hatching turtles walking to lighted city streets instead of following moon & star light to ocean, etc. Humans cannot survive in the world alone after destroying the habitat of the other animals.

      April 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
      • eric

        What makes you think that the moon is always the same direction as the ocean?

        April 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
      • eroteme

        I wonder how many light-bugs try flying to a full moon.

        April 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
      • Focalist

        There's room for all of God's cute little creatures.. Right next to the mashed potatoes.

        April 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
      • wavejump1100

        here in south florida the moon always rises over the atlantic ocean around sunset. the turtles are drawn toward the early evening moonlight and toward the ocean. if there are bright city lights they get confused and can go the wrong way and die. businesses near the beach are regulated as to what types of lights they can use. fort lauderdale just finished installing turtle safe lights all along the beach. they are very cool , from a distance it looks like a pole with no light on it but when you get right under it the light illuminates the road. not as much as regular lights but who cares, i dont think they should even have street lights. its supposed to be dark at night.

        April 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
      • rockford

        You probably kick puppies, don't you fukallist.

        April 6, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
      • Jason

        @wavejump100 - the moon does not rise at the same time every night from anywhere on Earth; it's astronomically impossible. The particular rise time depends on the phase of the moon. A full moon always rises at sunset. The new moon always rises at sunrise.

        April 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • P. Edward Murray


      Common sense would tell you what researchers have turned up in the last 15 years...that there is good reason for darkness at night. Ever try sleeping during the daytime? It's pretty hard isn't it? Well, for starters IF you are even awake
      when it's dark your body does not produce enough of a hormone called Melatonin. Funny thing about this hormone is that it fights cancer. And if you don't have enough you get cancer. In men it's prostate and females it's breast.

      There are other important environmental effects too.

      Try thinking about smog, you know it's called "Photochemical"? because the Sun 'cooks' car exhast. Well, turns out that there is enough light going directly up into the sky at night to keep cooking the smog.

      Think about it...

      It's the easiest pollution to control...

      You can by being careful of how you use light at night, you and I don't need to light up the bellies of Clouds, Birds and Aircraft now do we?

      April 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
      • eroteme

        We should be thankful we have been blessed with so many 'researchers' who do their very best to enlighten us all. I wonder how many 'researchers' find their way into the news in a given week. I guess that is about all the 'researchers' do, i.e., 'research'.

        April 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
      • wavejump1100

        i agree. who decided we need to light up the night. i prefer dark. it saves energy and produces no pollution. cars have headlights and you can carry a flashlight if you want. i personally would prefer if they took down all the streetlights. i hate light shining in my window all night. when you get away from the city lights the night sky is AMAZING. many of us have forgotten or have never seen the sky in true darkness. i could stare at it for hours. if you live in anywhere except the middle of nowhere you are not really seeing all there is to see.

        April 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
      • research is for chumps like eroteme

        Eroteme, I am a scientist who does biomedical research for a living. My own research will potentially spare men with prostate cancer from having to have their prostates removed and nuts cutt off. Researchers like me are NEVER in the news because I am always doing research and because when the work reaches clinical trials, the physicians who are recruited end up taking the credit. I am at work now, on a Saturday, although taking a break reading CNN news. I wonder what contributions to all of mankind you are engaging in today or any other day this, last or any other week of your life.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Leif

      The inability so see the real world around us is a pretty big issue.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:19 am |
      • hillman

        the use lights to block out all the ufos at nite not to see in the dark with i.e. street lights.

        April 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • nature is important

      Jack, because most people live in cities and can no longer observe the splendor of our natural world, they don't care about nature or even themselves. Because humanity is largely a very ugly affair and nature is invisible or absent, people focus on the ugly they can see and become dissaffected. That is a big deal and so is light pollution. An hour-long total power outage at night in a big city is a tremendous blessing. If only people were smart enough to just look upwards and realize that we are all together on this spaceship Earth. Their everyday mundane problems would then seem smaller and people would gather perspective. Maybe we would lessen our desire to constantly fight amongst ourselves.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Bajadave

      Jack, the watching of stars is part of our heritage. What do you watch? Television / reality shows. My universe is a little grander than yours, I guess. Thank God. Grow up!!!!!!!

      April 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  3. condonate

    Join now!
    International Dark-Sky Association

    April 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Jim

      Already a member.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  4. svann

    Space is scary. There's no bottom!

    April 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • orion


      April 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • boulderbubblemomblog

      and no top!

      April 7, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Sweetenedtea

      Are you saying space is a flasher? That's just disturbing, not scary.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  5. Andy

    I remember back in 96 when Hurricane Fran came through NC, we were able to see an incredible star show as the power was out everywhere. It was impressive to say the least.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • jimbo913

      When Irene came last summer, I had a similar experience. It was unseasonably cool (not cold, just not hot), moonless, and absolutely beautiful. I hadn't seen stars like that since my "camping out" nights in college. I kept trying to get my wife to come out and see, but to some it just doesn't seem interesting.

      April 9, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Brian

      In August, 2003, when the NorthEastern US was blacked out, we had one starry night in the Detroit, MI area. I took my telescope out and took a photo of the North America Nebula. A 10 minute exposure, which would have been impossible with the lights on. The (un)natural sky background glow normally limits time exposures of the sky to 90 seconds. In spite of the high humidity, I managed to get a great shot before the Moon rose at 11 pm.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  6. johnfwd

    Come on, people! This is simply a "back to nature" story about being able to see the night sky clearly when you're out in the country. There's no political agenda, global warming statement, etc., here.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • eric

      When you use the term Polution, it implies that it needs to be cleaned up. We have satellites in space that can see farther than any earth based telescope, so it doesn't hinder astronomy.

      April 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • P. Edward Murray


        Read my comments...

        April 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
      • WDS

        I bet Eric never travels to see anything live because he has a TV too.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
      • KDC

        So Eric if your house is on fire we don't need to put it out – because there's plenty of other houses right?

        April 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
      • Brian

        We could do a lot of that astronomy from the earth, much more cheaply without light pollution. Of course, getting above the atmosphere has advantages outside the normal visible spectrum of light, but a lot of real astronomy research is being done by backyard astronomers who live in darker sky areas. A lot more could be done by us "city slickers" who have telescopes.

        April 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  7. Jon

    I'm not about to log onto facepuke to make a comment on the article about the melting Antarctic icecap. So I'll make it here:
    "The northern Antarctic Peninsula has been subject to atmospheric warming of about 2.5 degrees Celsius (36.5 degrees Fahrenheit) over the last 50 years..." Someone please tell the staff at CNN that when one is referencing a CHANGE in temperature, one does not add 32 going from Celsius to Fahrenheit (the difference in the freezing point of water for the two systems). A change of 2.5 degrees C is a change of 4.5 degrees F.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  8. carlyjanewg


    April 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Primewonk

      This is a story about how humans have contaminated the night sky with light – resulting in it being difficult to see stars at nigh. Stars that have coalesced over the past 13.7 billion years because of gravity.

      Why do trolls like ypu spam these boards with inane religious drivel? Do we enter your churches demanding that you think?

      April 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
      • Elizabeth

        I am religious, and I like to see the sky at night. I also like it when people who are religious think.

        April 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
      • AGuest9

        Unfortunately, Elizabeth, you are a vanishing minority.

        April 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • P. Edward Murray

        I'm an Astronomer, I'm also religious. Pretty ridiculous comment here...read mine before you post your drivel again!

        April 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Leif

      The name of the website tells me that it knows nothing of the truth.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  9. michelle

    If you are ever in AZ, get to Grand Canyon national park. The night sky is unlike anything I have seen in my life.
    You can actually see the curvature of the earth out there. It took my breath away.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Michael

      Go to Utah , Canyon lands N-P and it is awesome at night – no one around for miles and miles

      April 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
      • SixDegrees

        That whole part of the country, from the Grand Canyon up the Grand Staircase and across southern Utah has amazing night skies. The air is so clear it isn't unusual to see mountains 100 miles distant, and you're up on a high plateau to boot. Add in distance from major cities and their light pollution, and the views are unlike anywhere else I've been.

        April 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • talbet

      i don't understand how you could see the curvature of the earth . that doesn't make sense . do i have to do a google search now or what

      April 6, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  10. druffmaul

    Light pollution has been an issue since I was a kid in the 70s, I remember it being talked about. I grew up in Fullerton, an OC suburb less than an hour from Los Angeles, and we could see a fair amount of stars at night. A few times a year we'd go to my grandma's house in 29 Palms, out in the desert near Palm Springs, and looking up at the night sky was like looking at the entire Milky Way, it was absolutely filled with stars. That's the not the case anymore, I'm sorry to say.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  11. Harvey Wallbanger

    Any beam of light that escapes into space without reflecting off something not only represents light pollution; it represents a huge amount of wasted energy and money. Look at any photograph of earth taken from a satellite at night to get an idea of how much is being wasted.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  12. deathstalker187

    What a joke.. If you want to see more stars leave the city... Most people are not that interested most of the stars are millions of light years away why worry about them they are not going anywhere any time soon.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • wimshurst

      Too bad you're so clueless and lacking in imagination.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Venith

      "Not going anywhere anytime soon". Funny, since most of them are already gone and have been for millenia. Looking up into the sky is like looking up into the past. It takes 8min 20sec for light to reach us from our sun, so how long do you think it took light to reach us from the ones farther away? Many have already gone through their lifespan and exploded, we just haven't witnessed it yet.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
      • deathstalker187

        Exactly my point.. They are so far away we don’t even know if they still exist or have for the last thousand years. I personally do not live in the city and enjoy the night sky and the stars. My point was light pollution is the least of our problems. Real smog pollution is a far bigger issue and also blocks out the sky in some places.

        April 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
      • Joe

        It's not true that "most" of the visible stars are already "gone." In fact, only an extremely small percentage are "gone." Stars last for anywhere from hundreds of millions of years to tens of billions of years and the average distance of the stars we can see with the naked eye is about 350 light years. The death of a star that is otherwise visible to us would also be visible, and in all of recorded history, humans have witnessed only a handful of star "deaths", which means that only a few deaths have occurred among the visible stars.

        April 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Joe

      Apparently, not much shining brightly in your universe either.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Leif

      You must lead a sad life. You have my sympathy.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • jtom

      Such a sad comment. If you could see the night sky as our ancestors did, you would have a much greater understanding as to why they developed religion, why they felt the need to be a part of something bigger than just their little group, why, and to a great extent how, they developed the cultures they did.

      If all of society could see the night sky, it would profoundly change how we interact with each other. The philosophical questions it would stimulate and psychological effects it would have would be significant. There would be a lot less me-me-me-me in this world if people saw the vastness of space and how insignificant we are.

      Instead. you sit back in ignorance and cast judgment on the merits of this issue, likely without ever experiencing the absolute awe of the night sky.

      Sad. I feel sorry for you.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:15 am |
    • Jim

      This is NOT just a problem in the city. Our observatory was build on rural farmland nearly 100 years ago, far from the city. Now the strip malls and car dealerships are less than a mile away. The farm land? Gone, now it is in the middle of suburbia, which is almost as badly light polluted as the city. Just because you're not interested in what goes on beyond the 2-dimensional existence on the surface of this rock doesn't mean that everyone else should be denied the opportunity. Generations past were inspired to explore their world and their universe by taking note of what goes on in the sky above. Now half the people I talk to have no ides what causes the phases of the moon.

      People in America are becoming increasingly distrustful of science for no good reason, and we seem to be slipping back into the dark ages. If only that was "dark" in the literal sense and people could explore the stars once more.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  13. JM

    We can see possibly a dozen stars here most nights. We seem to have replaced the beauty of the night sky with a ceiling.

    Definitely killing our souls. Mindless zombies staring at our phones all day. Beauty, poetry, wonder? In short supply these days.

    "The heavens declare the glories of God..." – Psalm 19:1

    April 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  14. The_Mick

    As someone who hand-ground, polished, and figured my own 12.5" paraboloidal mirror and built my own telescope, I can tell you that I need to use filters over my eyepieces to so I can properly see some of the great objects in the sky. Try going out in the country at night and you'll be amazed at the difference.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  15. Intro

    I’ve often wondered why light pollution doesn’t get as much attention as air pollution, noise pollution, etc. Don’t get me wrong, all pollution is bad, but light pollution rarely gets brought up. I grew up in a rural area but have lived in urban areas most of my adult life. I like city dwelling, but one of the things I miss most about the “country” are the peace, the quiet, and star gazing on a clear night.

    April 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Jim

      Light pollution is also the easiest and cheapest form of pollution to clean up. Once you "turn off" the light pollution, it is gone, unlike air or water pollution which can linger for a very long time. Less energy consumption also means you realize cost savings immediately.

      I just took a plane ride on a beautifully clear night last week and it is amazing how many lights you can actually see when flying directly over them. WHY are they pointed up into the sky? You should only see the area on the ground or building illuminated, not the light sources themselves.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  16. Joke

    Here we go agan, looks like the global warming hoax has ran it's course- they need a new gig. Don't buy it people- your being had again. $$$$$$$$$$$$$

    April 6, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Edwin

      Umm... you think the weather channel is making up a hoax when it mentions thousands of record highs, year after year? Or are they just part of the conspiracy, along with the people who make thermometers?

      April 6, 2012 at 11:59 am |
      • Joe

        Edwin, any claims that the idea of global warming, and in particular human caused global warming, is a hoax are just silly. But be careful, a year, or even several years, of widespread record highs does not necessarily mean the globe is warming. The issue of climate change is much more complicated than that. Global warming can result in cooler temperatures in some areas: if you melt the polar ice caps, sending large volumes of icy water into the ocean, some areas will get colder. Also, It's normal for there to be patterns of warmer AND colder weather during over time, even during a longer trend of warming or cooling. So, again, be careful about you think about these issues.

        April 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
      • Joke

        Joe, any chance you might be saying that because there has been no warming on average since 1998? I guess during the ice age, when the glacier built up- the world must have been cooking since no ice bergs were breaking loose to cool the rest of the wrold.? See what a intellectual slippery slope we have come to on this stuff? If we compare the averages, of hundred and thousands of years, and compare them to the spikes of 1 2 5 or 10 years- we have an bogus comparison- we can't see the spikes a dips- in the past on a decadal basis- so that comparison is not legitimate.

        April 8, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
      • Joke

        Im sorry, i just can't out this aside. driving me nuts. Edwin- are these the thermometers the ones that professor phil jones, from hadley university used. please google phil jones hadley read, about him getting caught fudging data to exagerate global warming- he got caught. the except? im afraid the tip of the ice berg – no pun intended :-). read up

        April 8, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • r schier

      Most suitable handle for yourself...."joke" indeed....

      April 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • handles

        The best handle for any man is behind his zipper. He'll do whatever I say when I grasp firmly and begin to stroke. That's no joke.

        April 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • JPX

      "Hoax" Help me understand this; the world's top scientists have come together to create a conspiracy about global warming because...? I would love to know your theory. I'm assuming that you are a high school dropout, am I right?

      April 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
      • Contempt57

        JPX, just google New World Order and you'll get a belly full of what Global Warming agenda is really about.

        April 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
      • kano112

        never use the word theory, that implies that can not be refuted as correct or incorrect. use the actual term idea this implies that it is only a possibility that can be argued and hashed out. theories are scientific measures like relativity, gravity, big bang, or even higgs-boson.

        April 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • Joke

        Nope, im a college educated engineer. And I don't need to call names- to divert focus of a theory that is proven to be false at best- but a lie in actuality. Im willing to accept the facts for what they- global warming or not- what it is – it is. Wouldn't you think, if the man made global warming crowd truly believed there theory that they would at least be – receptive to the idea that is actual is not happening?

        April 8, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Pliny

      ass clown

      April 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Primewonk

      How come none of the deniers publish the evidence that climate change is a hoax in peer-reviewed scientific journals?

      How come many of the "scientists" who are deniers had previous careers working for big tobacco, telling people that there were no health problems associated with smoking?

      April 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • sigh

      Light pollution has been a problem for a long time. It is not just now coming out and if you have ever been outside of the city you would know this for a fact. All you have to do is look up!

      April 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Leif

      Light pollution is an issue that predates global warming by a decade at least. Take off the tin foil hat.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • Joke

      Man made global warming is a 100% hoax, it's an money malking con-artist industry. I hate to rain on all your parades. If CO2 causes climate change, it would show in the geological historical temperture reconstruction, and it does not. C02 is a product of warming temperatures – not the cause- that happens to be a fact. Reason why is that, warming oceans emit C02, cooler oceans absorb C02. Solar activities, affect solar wind, which divert subatomic particles entering the earth climate which creats clouds, more clouds cooler temperatures- less clouds warmer. This is proven, in hundreds of years of data- not 20 years of Al Gore hot air. One more thing- 1970 Paul Erlic we have 5 more years to save the world, by 1980 we will need gas masks to breath and ocean will be boiling, 1988 ted dansig we have 10 years to save the plant, 1984 david brinkey we have 20 years end of the world- I can go on and on-- any sense a second thought on these geniuses? Man made Global warming is propaganda, a solution in search of a problem. Go search the facts- not the propaganda.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  17. Dave Star Watcher

    'Light' is not "pollution". Pollution has a context of permanency & toxicity. Light in this context isn't permanent and isn't toxic.

    Yes, there are fewer stars visible and yes, there are some people who may be affected by the higher-than-ancient-time amount of ambient light.

    But let's not use the mis-leading term of pollution.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • DJL

      No pollution is "permanent." Once we stupid, arrogant humans are gone, the earth will recover.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      I'd suggest you consult a dictionary. I've never run across a definition such as yours. As for artificial light obscuring the view of the stars, 'pollution' is an appropriate and fitting term for it.

      As a practical matter, lighting up the air is pure waste, too. Lots of money can be saved simply by redirecting errant fixtures and equipping new ones with proper shields and reflectors that aim light where it is needed – at ground level – instead of sending so much of it directly skyward where it does no good at all.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Mike

      Pollution in this sense is more like a paper bag or apple core rubbish in a wooden area, it's not innately toxic to the surrounding environs, but it takes away from the viewing pleasure of the area. That's what they're getting at.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • JM

      The (man-made) light obscures the purity of the night sky. I'd call that pollution.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • EricNoot

      No it is pollutant. Biological organisms depend on nights being dark in order for them to function. Half of all life begins their daily activities at sundown. Add artificial lights, and their time to find food, mates or safely exist is greatly reduced. Birds and insects are unfortunately attracted to lights, often to their deaths. The wholesale slaughter of the insects alone, which are the basis of the food chain for some many species, is alarming. Sea turtle hatchlings need the land to be dark so they can find the water and begin their lives. Certain species of trees are negatively affected by lights. Lights directly impact their photoperiodism, which they use to time when to grow leaves, flower, shut down for the night, or drop their leaves before the winter storms can break their leaf filled branches off and slowly kill the tree.

      Even humans are not immune from the lights. A growing body of research is finding that lights at night is a probable breast cancer causing factor in women and prostate causing factor in men. The American Cancer Society includes just working at night as being a cancer risk factor because it interferes with the protective hormone melatonin, whose production is affected by the body's exposure to light.

      When one considers the total damaging effects light causes us and animals out in the wild, one realizes that it is a pollutant that is just as damaging as a toxic chemical spill across the land. The end results are almost the same. The difference is that with light pollution, we keep paying for and consuming energy resources, night after night, just to make this pollutant, which we could so easily correct if we just put in some effort and turn down or off the lights.

      April 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • P. Edward Murray


      Obviously you don't even own a telescope much less READ astronomical mags like Astronomy or Sky & Telescope!

      April 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Leif

      Willful Ignorance is stupidity, however. Semantics is a poor excuse for an argument.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:55 am |
    • KDC

      Light may not be toxic but certainly the coal & fossil fuels used to generate the electricity (and the resulting air pollution) to run those lights sure as hell is!

      April 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • P. Edward Murray


        Possibly, some of us are astronomers, have telescopes and observe the sky...

        You don't 🙁

        April 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  18. ron

    I remember, back in the seventies, friends from Chicago coming to central Illinois to visit me. They atared, and atared, at the night sky, because, at home they said, all they saw at night wwere clouds floating above the city. Later, when I went to visit them, I saw what they meant. I stared and stared, because I saw not a single star. Only the clouds floating by.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  19. Dugh

    yea, city dwellers miss out on a bunch of good stuff in life. Bright star lit nights, quiet evenings with only the crickets, wind and owls filling the night, the smell of fresh air filled with the scent of flowers, views that go on for miles uninterreupted by anything manmade, ahhhhhhhh, the good life.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Edwin

      City people get benefits, too, like access to night life, restaurants and stores that don't close at 6 pm, museums and concert events, access to specialized schools for their kids, etc. - country life can be good, but so can city life.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • SixDegrees

        Quite true. None of that, however, need be given up in exchange for simple improvements in light fixtures that would direct light where it's needed – at ground level – instead of using it to uselessly and expensively light up air.

        April 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
      • r schier

        Yeah...all kinds of places to dump of tons of $$$$$$....give me the country anytime and any day !!

        April 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • P. Edward Murray'


        We all need good night lighting what we don't need it to light up the clouds and aircraft.

        April 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
      • Jeff S

        Edwin...I guess is is all perspective. I'll take nature over over priced high caloric food aka restaurants and noise pollution aka concerts. I do not need either to enjoy food or music.

        April 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Absolutely, Dugh. Unfortunately, cities are where the jobs are.

      April 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  20. Nick

    I remember the Great Blackout of 2003 very fondly. For one gloriously clear warm summer night, I got the see the Milky Way in all its splendor from the front lawn of in my very urban home. Almost every artificial light sources from Ontario, Canada to northern Florida in the U.S. had winked off. Every street light, porch light, and annoying halogen flood light pointed at the sky simply for aesthetic effect, was banished.
    I am a bit of an amateur astronomer and know the skies rather well... but even I became lost and confused. The hundred or so bright stars I normally use to navigate my way through the skies simply vanished into the background of the millions of other stars I would never normally see. I got my telescope out and let the neighbours take a look see, but you really did not need the hardware to appreciate the display.
    It was no surprise that the next day, TV and radio stations got calls from ordinary people wondering what that weird 'cloud' was in the sky.

    (A random summer night blackout on that scale might not be so bad once a decade or so! Well... Unless you get stuck in an elevator, of course. lol)

    April 6, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • dik

      I don't remember the stars in '03, but I was impressed to see the Milky Way on the CT shore last year after Irene (for 4 days).
      My favorite though was, as a kid I always thought The Great Bear was a bizarro name. The first time I went to sea and looked up, there it was; a freakin huge bear in the sky. Couldn't find the Big Dipper in all the stars but that bear was right there.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  21. jimbo

    If the light pollution that is shining toward the sky were some how directed down the number of lights/watts of power needed to light our cities at night would be much smaller and could be a huge savings in power consumption. Then again the power companies would raise rates to keep profit up and shareholders happy.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • raawww

      All light reflects up have you ever driven into a city out west you see them coming hills away

      April 6, 2012 at 11:34 am |
      • SixDegrees

        That's true, but a large portion of light pollution is caused by fixtures that allow light to escape directly upwards instead of directing it where it is needed, on the ground. It makes both economic and aesthetic sense to eliminate this waste and improve our view at the same time.

        April 6, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
      • Brian

        I haven't read every post yet, but one thing perople aren't metioning is that redirecting light with proper fixtures isn't enough. We must also use lower wattage lighting to SAVE MONEY. If we keep the same 500W+ bulbs in the better-shielded fixtures, we won't save any money. Proper reflectors will reduce the need for high wattage to illuminate the desired area with the same number of lumens striking the ground/building as before. And why do businesses have to keep their outdoor signs and parking lot lights on after they close? I suppose the signs provide after-hours advertizing for the people who will pass by during the day, but really, do they also HAVE to light their parking lots when they are closed?

        April 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  22. Mr. Mackey

    Electricity is bad, Mkay.

    April 6, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  23. OregonTom

    I did not know there were stars until I moved away from Seattle.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  24. JerkIAM

    Stupid comment here. I really have nothing to add, but love re-reading my own words over and over since I do not have a life and have already memorized every episode of Futurama.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • DianeL

      At least you're honest.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  25. hemplover

    Haze from coal power plants is also a culprit. But while their profits number in the billions of dollars, here in Montana, and in other states, their executives are fighting the EPA rule that requires them to clean up their emissions. It would improve everyone's quality of life and it is unfathomable why they wouldn't also want something good for themselves and their offspring. They must be aliens.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:44 am |

    Stars are faked just like all science and climate change.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:38 am |

      Limbaugh is made of 98% pink slime.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:40 am |

        Limbaugh is made of 99% pink slime.

        April 6, 2012 at 10:41 am |
      • BooseyBoo

        Limbaugh IS pink slime.

        April 6, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Leif

      The universe is beautiful.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:11 am |
  27. blah9999

    I grew up in a small town in Vermont. But I'm now living near Boston. Starless nights were the first things I noticed living near a city. Back home, I can see the streak of the Milky Way across the sky. Here, you're lucky to see planets.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Mike

      I live in Northern Vermont and lived in Rhode Island for a couple years. You really do notice the lack of stars right off... kind of sucks.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:03 am |
      • cpc65

        As a fellow Rhody resident, I hear you. Why would you move from Vermont (or any other State, except maybe NJ, for that matter) to s-hole RI?

        April 6, 2012 at 11:37 am |
      • JPX

        I live in Scituate, RI and there is no light pollution whatsoever.

        April 6, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  28. Kahuna

    I live in a small town in AZ about 150 miles from Phoenix. When we first moved here 15 years ago, the night sky was untainted by any light pollution. Now,low in the sky to the SW you can the glow from Phoenix. There's nothing but forest and desert between us.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Phoenix, of course, has grown dramatically in recent years. Another problem causing that glow is the enormous volume of dust kicked up by construction and traffic, and increased water vapor due to excessive outdoor watering. In the northern part of the state, there are still places where you can see mountains a hundred miles away. In the south, not so much anymore.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  29. heinok9

    I am in the field of Astronomy and I see the declining skies for years everywhere. Articles like this will raise awareness.
    Check out my project "Your Universe to Wear" http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1790873341/your-universe-to-wear

    April 6, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  30. bill


    April 6, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  31. Ace

    I thought this article was about how there are no visible stars when you are standing on the moon or according to the NASA photos.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Rogue351

      Ace you are a MORON. The reason you cannot see star in the photo taken by NASA while on the moon is simple. Pick up a camera, learn about how it works and stop your insanely stupid conspiracy theory that the moon landing was a hoax.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Amused

      Ace – You are referring to the basic limitations of camera exposure with differences in light intensity of stars vs. the light intensity of the sun. This involves some complicated 5th grade science. Obviously WAY over your head! Don't worry your tiny brain over this, as your poor confused mind might explode...

      April 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
      • eddantes


        April 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • loling over ace

      Ace. This is a noob comment. I'm deeply saddened to see it here. Not only is it completely unrelated to this article but it is such a low quality comment/question that I will be thinking about the sadness of it for days to come.

      April 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  32. Tom

    And yet every meteor shower brings the same story to every urban newspaper about how to see all the zillions of meteors, and none of them ever mention that "Oh by the way" you first need to drive at least 50 miles away from any small particle of civilization...

    April 6, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • sigh

      You do know that there is a difference between a particle entering the Earths atmosphere and burning up right over your head and a star several light years away don't you? And think about it, for every meteor you can see from the city, imagine what it would be like in the country. I have seen meteor showers in the country that had the night sky flashing like lightning!

      April 6, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  33. unretired05

    Fifty years ago the street lights had reflectors to put the light where it was needed. Then they came out with the "efficient" lighting and since it was so cheap they just broadcast it from the top of the pole.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  34. Janga

    Having moved from a big city to a rural area, I can attest that there is an amazing feeling of awe when you have the ability to just sit on your own deck and gaze up at the night sky-undisturbed by surrounding light interference. There's a certain quality of life that comes with having a big open field illuminated by a full moon. The silence, the tranquility, the lack of noise is something special.

    April 6, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  35. SciFiLeslie


    April 6, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Todd

      Where are all the bees?

      April 6, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Rose Tyler

      Bad Wolf.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Bplumer

      ... the destruction ... of reality ... itself hehehehhhe


      Davros ....with little more feeling please .....

      April 6, 2012 at 10:17 am |
      • thinkifyoucan

        The universe is cracked. The Pandorica will open. Silence will fall.

        When the question is asked, silence will fall.

        The Doctor is dying. Please help...

        April 6, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  36. intothemoonbeam

    Light pollution huh? Let me guess all the GOPers think light pollution is a hoax as well just like all other forms of pollution.

    April 6, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Truth

      It's Bush's fault, naturally. But Obama only inherited it.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:54 am |
      • raawww

        Actually it's Edison's fault and we haven't done anything about it .its lazy republicants like you who expect government to do it all for you and yet blame it all on them for doing to much. We could change but stuck in the seventies school book idiots like you think it'll be bad to advance society.

        April 6, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Conservative Atheist

      No, the effect is obvious.
      But we may question such scientific claims as "And, as we lose sight of more and more stars to light pollution, we lose a connection to the universe. We may even lose a little bit of our souls."

      Honestly, this whole issue is incredibly old. The Simpsons covered it pretty well.
      Check it out, if you want a laugh.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • jtom

      If it weren't for Democrats it would be safe to turn off city lights.

      April 8, 2012 at 3:32 am |
  37. jj

    Was this a lame article, or a needed reminder, to the city-bound? The comments are much better than the article.
    We once played at a festival, a remote 7h NW of Winnipeg. At night, we'd lay in the field and watch the Northern Lights. They were spectacular, and covered most of the sky! The locals were less thrilled – they couldn't see the stars at night! Guess it's all perspective...
    I grew up in 50's suburbia. I knew the sky, my father built his own 5" telescope. But on my first trip across the desert, I looked up and thought there was a cloud in the sky. But it didn't move much. I had no idea the Milky Way could be so bright!

    April 6, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • anna

      get over it man!.........ha...ha...ha...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      April 6, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  38. James Hawk III

    It's not really pollution is it? With other forms of pollution there's a residue or change in the affected area that renders it unusable. When the lights are off the sky is still there and doing just fine, thank you. Seeing the night sky is interesting, but it's not critical to survival (because, among other things, we mostly sleep when the stars are out). Clean water and arable land, however, are critical, and we should be expending our efforts in that direction, not this one.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • pj77

      I've got to say, noise pollution renders the mall unusable.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Nick

      You just don't get it, do you?

      April 6, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Yes, it's pollution. Get a dictionary.

      April 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
  39. Turnthekitchenlightoff

    I work at a University where the students are constantly pushing for more lighting everywhere. They feel it's their right to be able to walk anywhere at any time without being in the dark and feeling unsafe. My solution is create a darker campus and tell everyone to travel at their own peril. The cost savings of infrastructure, maintenance, and operational costs on all of our outdoor lighting is significant. There are also studies that refute the idea that lighting reduces crime. Darkness may actually reduce certain crimes that are common on campuses.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • AZRN

      Yeah...sure; whatever. Less crime when it's dark? Maybe because people (victims) venture out less due to fear. Duh.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:06 am |
      • Anonymous010

        No, actually, it's true. According to what I've read, crime is reduced in darker areas because the criminals can't see well enough to do their dirty work. They don't want to bring a flashlight because that would obviously broadcast their position and possibly draw attention.

        April 6, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • latuya83

      Yeah great idea, lets put students in danger so that you can see the stars.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:08 am |
      • te

        There ARE types of lights and shielding that allow places to be lit but not divert the light back up into the sky. It is possible to light areas yet still be able to see the stars. You may actually research options before ridiculing people.

        April 6, 2012 at 10:14 am |
      • Martha Gay

        A lot of wasted light either goes up (hardly any dangerous felons hovering) or out as glare. When someone is shining a bright light in my face, I can see very little and can therefore not do the most important thing to keep me safe – be aware of my surroundings. Proper amounts of properly shielded lights provide the most safe environment.

        April 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • HUH??

      Are you the dishwasher at the university?

      April 6, 2012 at 9:15 am |
      • AZRN

        My guess is he's someone in maintance who resents having to cater to...*gasp* students' wants / needs at a...wait for it...university.

        April 6, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Andrew

      Well perhaps you should try out your brilliant idea, and see if it works.. Because when it doesn't and a student gets hurt then it's going to be your job loss 🙁

      April 6, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • P. Edward Murray'

      The idea here is simple...use good light fixtures that direct the light where it is needed, DOWN, not in your eyes or directly UP into the sky. Yes there are good fixtures out there. They look like boxes and are called Full Cutoff. They have a reflector that directs the light down and are fully shielded. Try looking at your campus or other areas of your town on a foggy night..and you will be able to see it.

      April 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  40. bb

    If this is your biggest problem then everything in your life is going great.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  41. Brian Smith

    It is amazing that CNN will pay the exact same amount for an article of 3 or 4 sentences as they do for an article that is 20 pages.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  42. CommonSense

    It's amazing about the timing of this article. I walked outside just the other night to put the windows up in my truck and I took notice of all the stars that I saw that night. I hadn't really seen a clear night like that in, I can't remember how long.
    It brought back memories of my childhood in the country when the sky seemed to be FULL of stars. Just one of the simple pleasures of life to witness.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  43. JC

    Amazing how threatened by the stars some commenters seem to be. When someone's appreciation of beauty is just a big sneer to you, you are officially dumb. We see things you are blind to, like stars and rainbows and butterflies. You see happiness and it makes you angry and sad. Good luck with that sneer problem.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Neeneko

      Eh, they are probably the same people who participated in the anti-earth-day 'use as much power as possible to celebrate human achievement' event.. thus anything that even hints at environmentalism is sneered at. What good is a night sky when you can have parking lots full of bright progress!

      April 6, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • ZombieHunter2012

      Shut Up!!

      April 9, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  44. Malcolm

    Growing up in Reno, my father was a geologist. When I was 14 he took me on a field trip in central Nevada far from any man made object. When night came the starts came out and kept coming out. It is one of the most memorable images in my life. I will never forget how many bright stars there really are. When I have kids I plan someday to return the favor and camp out where there is no light pollution just to give them the image that I have.

    April 6, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  45. Justin

    The light pollution from Atlanta is so terrible that it washes out most of the stars while camping in the Chattahoochee National Forest some 75 miles north.

    April 6, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  46. John

    The term is improper, which is more appropriately termed star-light pollution. Pollution refers to impurity of the prefix name and not the source of the pollution, such as air pollution. City lights are polluting the star-light. Regardless, if we're going to perceive this phenomenon in such a manner, then humans have pretty much polluted everything within their presence.

    April 6, 2012 at 7:41 am |
  47. n2it

    I'm a merchant mariner. The crystal clear views we get well offshore are hard to believe some times. Shortly after clearing Trinidad/Tobago on a trip to west Africa I was able to make out Polaris to my north (of course, lol) and Crux (the Southern Cross) to my south. We were taking the very same "middle passage" route that the slave ships took. Ancient civilizations would observe the sky as their calendar. An example of which was the helical rising of Sirius that warned of the Nile floods.

    April 6, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  48. The Last Star

    They have an app for that...."Google Sky Map". The good thing, it doesn't work when your out in the mountains.

    April 6, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • GrammarPolice


      April 6, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Alyssa

      Not quite sure an app can replace the actual thing.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:28 am |
      • pj77

        Check out how the app works and prepare to be amazed.

        April 6, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  49. Bill

    One of the added benefits of my neighborhood is the lack of street lights, and neighbors who don't shine a bunch of exterior lights at night. If I stand out in my yard, the heavens open up, and the universe's light show is quite spectacular!

    April 6, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  50. Fritz

    I live deep in the southern Ozark mountains. The stars where I live are easy to see on clear nights. The Milky Way splashes across the entire sky. Although I can see the glow of nearby towns along the ridge horizon, they're small and far away so they don't muck up the night sky with light pollution.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  51. Bill

    I moved to Phoenix over 20 years ago and am located south of the mountain range that divides Phoenix. The night sky was great full of bright and more distant stars. Just a few miles south of here two large auto malls went in. The lighting systems they use conforms to our local lighting rules by shielding the tops of each light. However they are so bright, the light hitting all the high albedo surfaces below (like shiny new cars) goes straight back up.. We had a power outage of a few hours one night after a storm passed through. Between the air that was just cleaned by the rain and the darkness of no power, the night skies came alive. A few hours later the show ended as the power came back on.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  52. RE


    April 5, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • pj77

      Awesome. Thanks.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Altair

      These time lapse vids are AWESOME! Makes me want to go to Big Bend....Not much light pollution there....

      April 6, 2012 at 11:29 am |
      • Name*bonbon

        Big Bend is an excellent area for stargazing, you feel like you can reach out and touch them...it is sublime and surreal at the same time..

        April 8, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  53. flatty

    Look. There is going to be light pollution in a city. Even in the suburbs, what are you going to do, shoot your neighbor who installs lights in his yard? Get used to it. If you want to see stars, go into the surrounding countryside. That said, I favor requirements that billboards have downcasting lights and there are certain light bulbs that are less polluting.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Rob

      Arizona has successfully created effective light pollution laws. Its a simple matter of shielding light fixtures to shine down, and using lower wattage bulbs. The new LED lights they are beginning to use are a great example of this.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Charlie Rocket

      We solved the problem by using only "Dark Sky Lighting" , lighting that downcasts only. It works great, and is less expensive to use.

      April 6, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  54. Dot8

    The stars are earths time clock, when the last star vanishes, it will be the end of the world.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • dragonwife

      "... overhead, one by one, the stars were going out."

      April 6, 2012 at 8:20 am |
      • Tom J

        Nice to see another Arthur C. Clark fan.

        April 6, 2012 at 9:52 am |
      • jtom

        Ah, yes. The 'reward' for discovering the real word for God, THE mystery of the universe.

        April 8, 2012 at 3:44 am |
    • Alyssa

      The end of the world will come when one star in particular, our own sun, becomes so large that it engulfs us on its ultimate way to going nova.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  55. Fargo

    Light pollution is also a killer. Research by universities has shown that light prevents the body from producing melatonin.
    Those night lights and street lights keep your body from producing melatonin. Night shift workers have a higher risk of getting cancer than someone working days. Not all light is bad, certain colors are okay. That is why generations that used firewood and candles didn't have the same health problems we see today.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • larry


      April 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  56. David Bowman

    Oh my God, it's full of stars!

    April 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • GoRemote

      Nice.........Just watched it the other day, still stands up as one of the best movies ever made.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
      • GoRemote

        And the book(s) too......of course.

        April 5, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
      • Fritz

        Yeah, I watch it from time to time. The first one is a masterpiece. I watch that one more often when I need my H.A.L. 9000 fix.

        April 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Lookup

      Open the pod bay doors HAL......HAL?

      April 6, 2012 at 7:22 am |
      • dragonwife

        I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that..

        April 6, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  57. madcolor


    April 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • jtb

      Why not do a lights out every night? Dubya implemented the inane No Child Left Behind for education but everyone can implement a simple No Light Left Behind and turn off lights that aren't being used. Outdoor lighting is also affecting diurnal habits of mammals and birds in negative ways. Next time there's a power outage in your area at night, go out and look up and see what you've been missing. It's shameful.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
      • Brian

        Only problem is, most power outages happen when the weather is really bad, or the air is very hot and humid. Agreed, you can see a lot more stars when the clouds aren't in the way during a power outage. I'm speaking from a Detroit suburb point of view. Other parts of the country probably have outages for other reasons than storms. The one in 2003 was a great example, but the night was so humid that there wasa cone of dark sky of only about 30 degrees from straight up that stars could be seen through. Everywhere else, it was hazy from the water in the air. When the Moon rose, the whole sky lit up and the spectacular star show was over for all practical purposes.

        April 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  58. mary

    The first time I saw the stars I was 16~!
    I grew up in LA...I saw the north star.. I saw the big dipper.. I saw a few other little stars at night..
    Then one night when I was 16 a couple friends and I went for a ride and ended up miles away in Capistrano . Our car broke down and we had to sit down by the side of the road. We were some where high on a hill.. My friend laid back and said just lay back and look at the stars.. I thought "big deal".. But I did..
    Well.... WOW~!! I was stunned, in awe.. It was a shock.. I could not believe what I was seeing.. I started to gush and oooh and ahhh and could not take in all I was seeing.. I always thought the stars I saw in pictures were through a telescope.. I had no idea you could see them just by looking up..
    To this day.. I can't forget that sight.. Imagine being 16 before seeing that? never looking up,~! NO one really looks up who lives in the city.. There is nothing to see.
    But seeing it for the first time at 16 is a a moment I will never forget.. NEVER....

    April 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  59. B C

    Read the book "There Once Was a Sky Full of Stars" for a simple explanation.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  60. Burbank

    I remember growing up in Burbank in the 1950-60's and being able to clearly see the Milky Way. Not anymore!

    April 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • chris

      Come to philadelphia and you can see the milky way just fine... you did mean the candy wrappers on the ground, did'nt you? From the pigs to lazy to use a trashcan? That milky way?

      April 9, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  61. Sciguy73

    The only 'stars' I could see in Las Vegas were Jupiter, Venus and Wayne Newton.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Duh

      Bad news, none of those are stars.Venus and Saturn are planets and Wayne Newton... well...

      April 6, 2012 at 9:48 am |
      • Altair

        True point on all accounts...

        April 6, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  62. Neutronstar

    When we lived in the rural part of Virginia many years ago, that was the first and only time I was able to see the Milky Way – it was Fantastic! If you've never seen the Milky Way, get out into the country, you and your kids will be in for a treat!

    April 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  63. Cosmos42

    You mean to say... night is supposed to be DARK?! Mind = blown.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • John

      Cosmos42 = mind empty.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  64. Nightranger

    I can see Uranus from my house!

    April 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Tom J

      Stop looking in my window!

      April 6, 2012 at 9:55 am |
      • pj77

        And be a little more careful when you wipe!

        April 6, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  65. Joe

    Uh, did we need an article to point out common sense?

    April 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Stargazer

      Yes, we do... because it is not the obvious! maybe for you, but not for the other 95% of the cities population. specially if you were born in the 90's! The fact that no one complains about we being locked out of our universe's view, which motivate and gave knowledge to SO many civilizations, if not all, is a prove that it is not obvious for everyone. Now why they don't want to make it obvious?? imagine if you have things, that you don't know or don't have permission to explain, passing by our space view continually, by the thousands every single day....? i bet you would be happy if some how people wouldn't be able to look beyond the clouds anymore...

      April 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Tom J

      Look at how many posts are saying that light pollution is silly and not a problem.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  66. Tinker

    I learnt this in my mother's womb! What's f****** new?

    April 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • JoJo

      Your mother had a hystorectomy before you were born, that was a colostomy bag.

      April 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  67. KrisM

    We learned this in 3rd grade.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  68. Bern Itall

    If you turn off the lights, you still wouldn't be able to see because of the smoke from the burning cities...

    April 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  69. JM

    Dozens? We're lucky if we see a dozen. Sad. So very sad.

    April 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Burbank

      It may not be all from light pollution if you live in a high humidity area with a lot of moisture in the sky at night. That can also blot out a lot of stars. I live in an area like that.

      April 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  70. Tinklepants

    Reading this reminded me of a time when I had really bad diarrhea, stuck in the Baltimore Tunnel and I sneezed really hard

    April 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  71. Stew22

    Crap, I don't want to loose my soul. Better make myself a horcrux.

    April 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  72. lame

    lame. you mean more light on the ground and in the atmosphere makes it hard to see stars? i'll be referring my 8 yr. old niece to this blog from now on since that the level of science it is peddling now. of course ill have to figure a way to censor the comments section.

    April 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Nick

      Believe it... There are people who are still not sure if the Earth goes around the Sun (or vice versa) do not know why we have seasons. Light pollution is an easy to understand concept... As easy as the previous two I have mentioned but science literacy in the public is not seen as important these days.

      April 6, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  73. William

    Thankfully, I live in the woods and don't have this problem.

    April 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • JeffinIL

      You can't see the Capricornus for the trees.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  74. JF

    Or spend a late night doing the backstroke in the Gulf of Mexico at Ft. Walton Beach. They need the tourism, the beach never really closes, and the only rule about alcohol is no glass bottles, and don't leave empties. At 2AM, the view is truly breath-taking...especially the Southern Cross!

    April 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Rod

      Sorry. The Southern Cross is visible from Cancun and points south. Florida not.

      April 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
      • Clark Nova

        Wrong. I've seen it many times from the Florida Keys.

        April 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Missing Link

      You probably saw the FALSE CROSS, not the Southern Sross. The Southern Cross can NOT be seen from Florida.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  75. Dee

    I live in podunk Arkansas by the boston mountains where there is very little light. Every night our yard is bright with the stars and the moon. I love looking up to see all those stars and and seeing the milky way. It truely is very beautiful.

    April 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • JM

      How lovely. Once upon a time, we were able to see a star-filled sky hereabouts (25 years ago).

      April 5, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  76. bob

    Can I still see Uranus?

    April 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  77. M.E.

    I live dead in the middle of Denver, I'm lucky if I can see Orions belt. Last summer my fiancee and I were driving through the Utah desert at night and lemme tell ya, it was stunning to lean the passenger seat back and watch the stars through the sunroof while listening to the Dare! album from The Human League. I almost never miss the stars since it usually takes an act of congress to get me out of the city, but what a delightful and rare treat that was.

    April 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Diego

      Were you high? LOL

      April 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • kerry

      God, what's your last name, Safford? Pathetic.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  78. QS

    Conservatives believe stars are a hoax, cooked up in order to create this fantasy of "light pollution" which is designed to get people to save energy....something they won't stand for.

    April 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Common Sense


      April 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Michael

      Are you dumb??? Really???

      April 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • QS

      Nope, not dumb....but if you are unable to recognize satire, I might ask you that question.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • MandoZink

      I thought that was a really stupid, lame comment until I thought about it for a minute. That very well may be the extreme right's next assertion, given the unbelievable positions of utter ignorance I thought not possible in this day and age. I certainly hope not.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Thomas

      Some people don't understand sarcasm....

      April 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  79. sxj016

    You guys need to move to the mountains...you can read by star light out there...no "progress" to rob you of your liberty & independence!

    April 5, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • M.E.

      I live 20 minutes (traffic willing) straight shot from the rocky mountains and I can see only a handful of the brightest stars.

      April 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • JC

      Yeah, but there's plenty of regressives waitin' to steal your hubcaps. Ignorant people ruin everything they touch.

      April 6, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Alyssa

      No progress, like ambulances that can get you to a hospital in time for you to not die.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  80. Liebster Welpe

    Montreal a great place for girl watching but terrible for star gazing. If I look real hard, maybe i can spot half a dozen

    April 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  81. Godfrey

    "We may even lose a little bit of our souls."

    See? I told you not to let the interns write this stuff.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Jeff

      I don't care for people like you

      April 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
      • Michael

        I don't care for people like you.

        April 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • clearfog

      Souls and stars don't mix well. Remember calling the Higgs Boson the god particle? And that thing about god playing dice somehow turned into Einstein being a fundamentalist.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  82. MrApplesauce

    What? There are stars up in the sky? THAT is the Universe?

    It'll have to go.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  83. Piranha

    Love looking up at stars, driving to Las Vegas on a moonless night, out on the high desert, park and turn off your engine and lights and get out of your car, look up and wow, best place to make out though.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Dave

      Yeah, sure thing Mr. Henley.

      April 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  84. Ed

    The lights were out in Houston just after Hurricane Ike. I was so excited about pulling out the ol' telescope and spending my nights stargazing.

    Then the clouds rolled in...all week long. The power came back on just as the clouds went away.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Drake Marstone

      Aww that sucks..well at least you can play Ps3 know! : >

      April 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  85. Drake Marstone

    Last night was nuts..i got high watching twilight breaking dawn part 1..and i started to cry when hurd one of the wolves howling..it was so intense and beautiful...then i had a cigerette lol..and then i drank some more beers..i go down to the beach at night every once in a while to run..i see all those starts it makes me realize how were so lost in the universe how theres so much out there ..its beautifull really! : D

    April 5, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Drake Marstone


      April 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  86. Troy

    The majority of Americans have no idea. I grew up in an urban city and am now a military member. We had a mission to do in the Teton Mountains of Jackson, WY. I went inside my tent while it was still daylight and stayed there till about 1100 pm and then walked out to use the potty. It was so dark it scared me. I literally could not see my hand in front of my face. After my amazement started to get controllable, I happened to look up. My amazement went right back to an extreme. It looked as if another world was going on above us. I had never seen stars like that except for in the movies. Told mysef if I ever get the money I'm gonna by land out there so I could experience this whenever I desired. Really wish more Americans could experience the world as God intended.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Foosdog

      Amazing sight that everyone should witness!

      April 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Old Yella Dog

      We know about experiences like yours in the Tetons and they are breathtaking! We have some acreage next to us for sale in Vya, Nevada near our vacation rental (www.oldyelladogranch.com) that could be just what a star gazer is looking for! Come on out and see those sparkling stars for yourself!

      April 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  87. Applal

    There are cities where light pollution standards are in place to help reduce the loss of the night sky. Properly built and installed light fixtures conforming to this standard not only reduce light pollution but save energy, as all the light they produce is directed downward. google International Dark Sky Association.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  88. obi_donkenobi

    My favorite story: about a decade or so ago, the entire east coast of the U.S. suffered a massive power outage. The police got 911 calls about the mysterious "lights in the skies!" How sad, that entire generations of people are raised without being able to experience the awesome beauty of something so simple as a starry night sky. If you're interested in doing something about it, look up the IDA (international Dark-sky Association). They're a group that works w/people and government to advocate for intelligent, environmentally safe outdoor lighting, which preserves the stars.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  89. Avser Bastian

    VIOLENT WORLD PSYCHIATRY-PSYCHOLOGY REVEALED(mindless mkultra crimes performed by police and psychiatrists/psychologists)

    USE OF MKULTRA + HUNGER GAMES TODAY....Use of psychology/psychiatry for mass population or ethnic cleansing as well as crimes to which we witness daily on behalf of Zionism/communism/liberalism.






    For fast updates use http://www.facebook.com/people/Loki-Nagrind/100001962176474



    IF THEY BRAINWASH YOU WITH LIES ON HOW ELECTING OBAMA WOULD HELP TEA PARTY(there is already over one hundred million of so called minorities in US alone while you are everything, but treated as humans), PLEASE ASK YOURSELF WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES OF SURVIVAL ONCE OBAMA IS AGAIN SELF-ELECTED(see video 77) & SINCE NEW LAW IS TAKING GUNS FROM YOU ALREADY TODAY(stop the violent world of psychiatry or lies – NOW) !!!

    April 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Looks like somebody has already lost their soul, in addition to their mind and CAPS lock key.

      April 6, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Nick

      If you have not done so already, please notify your family doctor that your medications may need to be reviewed once again.

      April 6, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  90. Randy

    For those who don't know how inspiring dark clear skies can be, go to Bryce Canyon Utah on a clear moonless night. At 9,000 feet above sea level and far away from cities, it makes you feel as if you are on an alien planet!

    April 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Lila

      That sounds amazing.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • illusive

      It is, i experience it almost every week at 10,000 feet in the mountains

      April 5, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Bobby Bear

      Go on a cruise ship, go out and look up at night, you will be amazed.!

      April 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
      • jj

        Then look straight down, over the rails, as you puke from whatever bacteria is plaguing the ship... ;>

        April 6, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  91. TBen

    That's exactly why my family and I enjoy going to the lake and camping. Their is nothing cooler than floating on your back in a lake 3am in the morning checking out the stars. One better get lucky enough to view a meteor shower out the middle of nowhere...

    April 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  92. Donna Noble

    Actually, it was Davros and the Daleks that turned off the stars after the Doctor died.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • JT

      Hey, you're not supposed to remember that.

      April 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Chris


      April 6, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  93. gager

    What's a star?

    April 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  94. Petty Palin

    This just in from researchers at the prestigious Sarah Palin University. Stars aren't what scientists say they are. In reality they are angels and former teabaggers watching over us and telling us that birth control is bad and the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • tony

      Look. You can see the Koch Galaxy from her house.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • tony

      Thee are Bilyuns and Bilyuns . I miss that that guy

      April 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • wes

      LOL!! so true on what she'd say, but you forgot to include on how she thinks the sun and planets orbit earth.

      April 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  95. Emily

    Come to Southwest Kansas! On a moonless night it's a beautiful sight! You'll be counting stars all night!!

    April 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  96. Lila

    I live in LA and I can see the stars with all this light pollution. Imagine if this city was completely dark, it would be amazing.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  97. Paul

    It's more like "People Pollution" That's why you can't see the stars unless you move out to the country.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  98. day

    I want to see the stars that way!!

    April 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  99. Marc

    Thank goodness I live in nowhere Canada, I get to appreciate the stars, and the awe of the cosmos!

    April 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • AlexPKeaton

      It's nice to get out in the country and look at the stars. It's sad that a story like this gets 1 reply and any other story on CNN ends up in a political-racist-whatever debate filled with thousands of posts.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • StarChaser

        Ditto. Luckily I live in North Dakota where more stars are visible than people in the state!

        April 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
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