Astronomers have warned that stars are disappearing from the night sky before our eyes.
The sky is getting up to 10 percent brighter each year, according to a major new study. This means that a large number of once visible stars are now hidden from astronomers and the public.
Scientists warn that a child born under 250 visible stars, for example, will only be able to see 100 of them by their 18th birthday.
The light pollution blocking these stars is growing much faster than we think, despite attempts to contain it. And it can have serious consequences not just for the visibility of the night sky, but for the environment, with effects on the biological systems of animals and humans and more.
These are the findings of a large new study that analyzed more than 50,000 observations of citizen scientists around the world between 2011 and 2022. sky caused by man-made pollution.
Until now, changes in the brightness of the sky have been poorly documented because there was no easy way to gather information from around the world. To address this, the scientists used information from an app that collects and aggregates scenery from places around the world.
These data can be used to collect data on the “bare-eye limiting magnitude”, which measures the minimum luminosity an object in the sky should have if it is visible. As the night sky is lit up with pollution, these objects need to be brighter than usual to be seen – otherwise they will disappear from the sky.
These measurements show that the brightness of the sky is increasing by 9.6 percent each year. Previous estimates from satellites had shown that the brightness increased by only 2 percent.
Satellites have been used to estimate the scale of the problem, but they’re in trouble because there’s none to account for the way humans view the sky, watching the entire Earth. They are also less likely to see light coming out horizontally, such as light from windows, but these sources contribute significantly to light pollution as seen by people on the ground.
An article titled ‘Citizen scientists report rapid global declines in the visibility of stars from 2011 to 2022’ was published about the findings in the journal. Science.
In conclusion, the researchers note the importance of citizen scientists in providing such data. However, they also demand that the data be used by policymakers, noting that current attempts to limit the problem of light pollution do not prevent the problem from getting worse.