By Johnie Gall, GrindTV
America spends about $3 billion a year on “bad” lighting.
It shines down on our grocery stores, our city streets and our back porches, but it also expands upward and outward, brightening up a once-dark night sky.
The cheaper this lighting gets, the more of it people use — and that’s how we’ve arrived at a pretty damning side effect of all this light pollution: We can’t see the stars anymore.
That’s where the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) comes in. They’re working to preserve our disappearing night sky by studying and helping to reform the ways we use light in our cities.
Sadly, 99 percent of the population in the continental U.S. still lives in places considered polluted by light, meaning most of us can’t even see the massive spiral galaxy we call home: the Milky Way.
More than 100,000 light years in diameter, with more than 100 billion stars and at least as many planets, the Milky Way is arguably the most impressive feature of the night sky that you can see with the naked eye.
But actually seeing it these days? Well, that requires a little more effort than simply craning your neck.
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