We’re Seeing Fewer Stars in the Night Sky, Here’s Why
Why does it seem that there are fewer stars in the sky as of late?
It's not your imagination.
I remember when I was a kid and we'd go outside at night. I lived just south of town, and we would lay in the field and marvel at the wonders of the universe.
We'd do our best to pick out all of the constellations and, usually, we could at least get a good glimpse of the Milky Way.
Not anymore. Not around here, at least.
According to Space.com, stars seem to be disappearing rapidly. Almost 20 years ago, one could count around 250 stars visible to the naked eye in the night sky.
Today, that number is down to around 100.
So, why the drop?
In a word - technology.
Thousands of "citizen scientists", as Space.com calls them, were involved in a study about stars in the night sky, and they reported the drop in visible stars, all because of light pollution.
We've known for years that the closer you are to a major city, the harder it will be to effectively stargaze.
The reflection of the city lights on the atmosphere creates a glare of sorts that "cancels out" the light from the stars.
And, as we build more and expand our cities, the problem is only getting worse. The report states that light pollution in Europe is progressing at around 6.5% per year, while light pollution in the United States is growing by around 10.4% each year.
What does this mean for people who love stars?
It means they will have to travel farther away from cities to be able to totally immerse themselves in a world of stars.
smithsonian's list of best places to stargaze - get your passport!
Smithsonian Magazine lists the best places in the world for star gazing, and none of them are close to gumbo and crawfish.
To get the best view of the night sky, the perfect combination of altitude, climate, and distance from artificial light is key.
On the Smithsonian's list of locations:
- Tenerife on the Canary Islands
- Atacama Desert in Chile
- Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand
- A few places in Canada
- Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania
So at least one of them is within a few days' drive from us, right?
If you are planning to get some star gazing done locally, you should try driving south to Vermilion Parish.
If you don't mind driving a few hours, head north to Kisatchie National Forest, as they have the darkest night skies in Louisiana, according to Space Tourism Guide.
The site also mentions Cypremort Point State Park in St. Mary Parish.