Light Pollution | St. Louis Public Radio

Light Pollution

An image of the night sky from Kirksville, Missouri.
Vayujeet Gokhale

A group of amateur astronomers has planted devices around Missouri to measure how much artificial lighting brightens the night sky. 

The Missouri chapter of the International Dark-Sky Association, formed last year, wants to capture data on light pollution. Satellite imaging shows artificial lighting at night has steadily increased in recent years

There appears to be a “tsunami” of nighttime artificial lighting observed in satellite images that’s increasing from the East Coast toward the middle of the country, said Don Ficken, the chapter’s president. 

A NASA satellite image of light pollution in North America in 2016.
Joshua Stevens | NASA Earth Observatory

When students and faculty at Truman State University come back for the fall semester, they might notice more stars in the sky. 

After four years of research on how artificial light brightens the night sky, scientists are planning to change lighting on campus to direct light away from the sky. That could limit light pollution, which prevents people from seeing stars and galaxies, and also can disrupt sleep patterns.