APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by APOD Robot » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:10 am

Image The New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness

Explanation: How far are you from a naturally dark night sky? In increasing steps, this world map (medium | large) shows the effect of artificial night sky brightness on the visual appearance of the night sky. The brightness was modeled using high resolution satellite data and fit to thousands of night sky brightness measurements in recent work. Color-coded levels are compared to the natural sky brightness level for your location. For example, artificial sky brightness levels in yellow alter the natural appearance of the night sky. In red they hide the Milky Way in an artificial luminous fog. The results indicate that the historically common appearance of our galaxy at night is now lost for more than one-third of humanity. That includes 60% of Europeans and almost 80% of North Americans, along with inhabitants of other densely populated, light-polluted regions of planet Earth.

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by geckzilla » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:30 am

I like how the final level of brightness is "cones active" at which point any additional metric is pointless because it can't even be called dark anymore.

So we finally really did it. You maniacs! You lit it up!
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Boomer12k » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:48 am

hmmmm.... maybe I should move to South Eastern Oregon....but it gets HOT there, and very COLD there... and I can't deal with it... plus really away from things.

Oh, well...

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Boomer12k » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:50 am

geckzilla wrote:I like how the final level of brightness is "cones active" at which point any additional metric is pointless because it can't even be called dark anymore.

So we finally really did it. You maniacs! You lit it up!
"Get your darn, dirty Light out of my Skies.. you darn, dirty APE!!!!"

With apologies, and I DID clean up the language...

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Jim Leff » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:07 am

Wow. So where does a New Yorker go to see some sky? No gaps anywhere nearby, and all the airports I could fly into are right in the middle of the worst problems.

Maybe a boat? How far would we need to sail?

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by JohnTheWysard » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:09 am

One of the scariest APOD's I've seen. What are we doing to our planet!?

A young relative from Raleigh, North Carolina visited me a few years ago. She had graduated from college but had never seen the Milky Way. All too common I fear!

Another rather shocking image is zooming in on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea is as bright as Honshu or the Shanghai area; North Korea is as dark as the open ocean.

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by sallyseaver » Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:07 am

I love it!! I like the way the map immediately shows where good night-sky viewing can be had. I like the way that it shows population distribution. I like the way the globe is cut up to avoid some of the usual distortion of a flat map. I like the colors... and the WHOLE THING!

Thank you VERY much APOD!

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Ann » Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:11 am

Boomer12k wrote:hmmmm.... maybe I should move to South Eastern Oregon....but it gets HOT there, and very COLD there... and I can't deal with it... plus really away from things.

Oh, well...

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I think Coraline has moved to Oregon, but I guess you can't see too many stars there, due to the weather... unless you fall to the bottom of the secret well and look up, because then you'll see a sky full of stars in the middle of the day.

Oh, well!
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Markus Schwarz » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:51 am

I had a friend from London visiting me and she was really amazed at the night sky. In my city you can see a few bright stars at night, but certainly no Milky Way and still fewer stars compared to the small town I grew up in.

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Scantzen » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:34 pm

I've lived in lower New York State most of my life, and I've only ever seen the Milky Way once, driving on an unlit highway in south-western WV, at about 2AM. I stuck my head fully out the window, looking straight up, and told my friend to "Pull over! I can see the Milky Way!" But when we pulled in at a rest stop, the view was gone. First and last time.

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by sacamato » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:26 pm

Hey, what's the big bunch of light pollution south east of St. John's, Newfoundland? That's about where the Titanic is, although, and I'm no expert, but I don't think it's that bright.

Evermore

Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Evermore » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:32 pm

geckzilla wrote:I like how the final level of brightness is "cones active" at which point any additional metric is pointless because it can't even be called dark anymore.

So we finally really did it. You maniacs! You lit it up!
And then there's the old t.v. paint advertisement .. "Cover your world" showing a can of paint being poured over the planet. We did that, too.

Evermore

Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Evermore » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:33 pm

sacamato wrote:Hey, what's the big bunch of light pollution south east of St. John's, Newfoundland? That's about where the Titanic is, although, and I'm no expert, but I don't think it's that bright.
Titanic sinking solved .. Low quality rivets. A complete metallurgists report on items recovered from the wreck.

EmptyM

Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by EmptyM » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:44 pm

sacamato wrote:Hey, what's the big bunch of light pollution south east of St. John's, Newfoundland? That's about where the Titanic is, although, and I'm no expert, but I don't think it's that bright.

I was wondering the same thing. Being unfamiliar what that part of the world, I pulled up google earth, and found only empty water.

Maybe it's Atlantis !

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by gmPhil » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:45 pm

Excuse my ignorance, but what does "Cones Active" mean?

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Fred the Cat » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:53 pm

Just so it's clear not all is lost. There are places where skies are clear,
IMG_5814.JPG
the wilderness is still intact, public observatories are open and the stars are still the stars of the show.
IMG_5839 (2).JPG
It's just not here in Idaho. :wink:
IMG_5850.JPG
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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:08 pm

EmptyM wrote:
sacamato wrote:Hey, what's the big bunch of light pollution south east of St. John's, Newfoundland? That's about where the Titanic is, although, and I'm no expert, but I don't think it's that bright.
I was wondering the same thing. Being unfamiliar what that part of the world, I pulled up google earth, and found only empty water.
Most likely it's a fishing fleet. There are a number of heavily light polluted regions on this map which are the result of fishing fleets.
Chris

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:10 pm

gmPhil wrote:Excuse my ignorance, but what does "Cones Active" mean?
It means that the night is so bright that the cone cells in your retina are active. They are the color sensing cells, and are much less sensitive than the rods, which are B&W. In dim light we don't see color. The night has to be very bright for color vision to work.
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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by gva » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:11 pm

gmPhil wrote:Excuse my ignorance, but what does "Cones Active" mean?
In the human eye, night vision is provided by a type of light-receptor cells called "rods"; daytime vision is provided by light-receptor cells called "cones". In dim light, the cones, essentially, shut down and you see things only with your rods. That's why, in dim light, it's difficult to discriminate color (which only the cones can detect). Also, in astronomical observing, you may have heard the term "averted vision". It refers to the fact that peripheral vision tends to be better for viewing dim astronomical objects because there are very few, if any, rods in central vision.
So, "Cones Active" probably means that the light level is so high that daytime vision, provided by cones, is not fully shut down.

gva

Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by gva » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:19 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
EmptyM wrote:
sacamato wrote:Hey, what's the big bunch of light pollution south east of St. John's, Newfoundland? That's about where the Titanic is, although, and I'm no expert, but I don't think it's that bright.
I was wondering the same thing. Being unfamiliar what that part of the world, I pulled up google earth, and found only empty water.
Most likely it's a fishing fleet. There are a number of heavily light polluted regions on this map which are the result of fishing fleets.
That's quite a fishing fleet, it's the size of Tenerife!

I am also wondering what's going on in Williston, North Dakota. It surpasses the San Francisco Bay area in light pollution. Does anyone know what's there? Wikipedia says it has a population of 26,977.

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:31 pm

gva wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:
EmptyM wrote: I was wondering the same thing. Being unfamiliar what that part of the world, I pulled up google earth, and found only empty water.
Most likely it's a fishing fleet. There are a number of heavily light polluted regions on this map which are the result of fishing fleets.
That's quite a fishing fleet, it's the size of Tenerife!
Yes, some are huge. The previous light pollution map had a big hotspot from fishing down near the Falkland Islands. That one seems to be gone on this map.
I am also wondering what's going on in Williston, North Dakota. It surpasses the San Francisco Bay area in light pollution. Does anyone know what's there? Wikipedia says it has a population of 26,977.
Fracking. Lots and lots of oil rigs. Although with the recent decline in that industry, the actual skies there may have gotten a little darker since the map data was collected. A lot of the light in Wyoming comes from oil and coal extraction, as well.
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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by BillBixby » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:41 pm

Makes one wonder; how much energy could be saved and how much pollution diminished were we to turn out the lights. The lights not being used by anybody and just lighting up the planet for no reason. People want them on for security? Activate those lights with motion detectors. If nothing is using the light the light is off. If the light is on the light is being used OR there is a real security issue.

I like the picture because it shows us the problem with light. I am unhappy to see how bad the problem is.

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:47 pm

BillBixby wrote:Makes one wonder; how much energy could be saved and how much pollution diminished were we to turn out the lights. The lights not being used by anybody and just lighting up the planet for no reason. People want them on for security? Activate those lights with motion detectors. If nothing is using the light the light is off. If the light is on the light is being used OR there is a real security issue.

I like the picture because it shows us the problem with light. I am unhappy to see how bad the problem is.
Well, in many cases the lights are useful. But most certainly, the part of the light going upwards is not. Some lights can be turned out. But all of them should be designed to put the light only where it's needed. And that would save a huge amount of energy.
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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by rstevenson » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:56 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
EmptyM wrote:
sacamato wrote:Hey, what's the big bunch of light pollution south east of St. John's, Newfoundland? That's about where the Titanic is, although, and I'm no expert, but I don't think it's that bright.
I was wondering the same thing. Being unfamiliar what that part of the world, I pulled up google earth, and found only empty water.
Most likely it's a fishing fleet. There are a number of heavily light polluted regions on this map which are the result of fishing fleets.
There's oil drilling and production at the Hibernia, Terra Nova, and White Rose fields off the SE coast of Newfoundland. They're quite close together, just in the area where the light appears on the map. The Hibernia platform alone is the world's largest, so I imagine there's a lot of light in that area, 24 hours a day. The much smaller gas production facility near Sable Island also shows on the light pollution map, just below the easternmost point of Nova Scotia.

Fishing is largely banned in that area. No vast fleets of trawlers there, though a short distance to the south, in the US-controlled part of the Grand Banks, fishing goes on as the powers that be wish it to.

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Re: APOD: The New World Atlas of Artificial... (2016 Jun 30)

Post by JohnTheWysard » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:40 pm

A lot of the light in oil-producing areas (North Dakota, North Sea, Saudi Arabia's deserts, the area off Newfoundland most likely) are from flaming off waste gas. They're recovering more natural gas now than they used to, but still a huge amount of "worthless" gas gets burned to produce "valuable" petroleum.

As a child I lived in Red Fork, Oklahoma. We didn't need nightlights because of the orange glow from the hundred-foot tall flames over the oil refineries a few miles away.