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Source: Wired

Category: Science, Weekend

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

6 Responses to “Nighttime Earth From Space”

  1. abxyz says:

    Is anyone else really disturbed by the fact that eastern North Dakota is lit up over an area the size of Los Angeles?

  2. abxyz,

    see for comparison..

    those ‘lights’ are further South, than North Dakota..

  3. idaman says:

    This saddens me deeply.

    When Galileo was alive, on a clear moonless night, planets cast shaddows. Today the brightest object in the night sky near the Grand Canyon is Las Vegas, blotting out any possiblity of seeing a planets shadow. Most Americans can not even see the Milkyway from their towns. Why? The largest factor by far is ‘light pollution.’ To see a night sky anyhting like Galileo saw with the naked eye you would have to travel to Mongolia in summer, and even then it’s not 100%

    A very dark night sky, allowing the illumination of thousands of stars and other sky objects, is more mind blowing than the Grand Canyon at sunset. What a loss.

  4. abxyz says:


    Look at a more detailed map, e.g. Google Maps, for comparison … you can clearly see that the lit area is neatly to the north of Fargo, more around the latitude of Grand Forks (both easily identifiable in the photo in the curve between Minneapolis and Winnipeg). Or draw a line between Vancouver and Minneapolis, if you prefer … that whole area is well to the north of the line, South Dakota almost entirely to the South, no matter how you account for curvature over that arc. I confess it looks like North Dakota to me.

    But really, that’s beside the point — I assume that these are oil/gas extraction operations we’re looking at, on a (to me) staggering scale. Obviously it’s hard to quantify what that means for America, but I bet I’m not wrong in guessing that it includes a lot of negative externalities left for someone else to pay for.

    And idaman, yes, too true. It’s nice not to have to worry about going blind reading by candlelight, but the loss of our night skies is a real loss — no need to put “light pollution” in quotes.

  5. idaman says:


    I’m no Luddite, I accept progress fully. Yet, I’m still saddened. I just rented a documentary called Manufactured Landscapes

    a peek at things to come, I think.

  6. abxyz says:


    No snark or imputation of Luddism intended. Just last week the local university had an Open Observatory night, and I kept my six-year-old up till 9 to get a peek at Jupiter and the Galilean moons. To say we were both awed barely touches it. The idea that we could be seeing and talking about the skies every night, if it weren’t for the lights burning all night for hours and hours in every direction … you bet I’m saddened.

    (I’ll take this opportunity to note that “eastern” ND in my first post above should probably have been “western” … not, again, that it makes any difference to either of the above points.)