Most of us will never see the Milky Way, and here’s why

061116-light pollution 1
Generations of people have never seen the Milky Way thanks to light pollution, and sadly they never will. Credit: Diana Juncher/ESO

It’s been about 40 years since I’ve seen the Milky Way in person. That was at church camp when we set out one night to climb a mountain to watch a meteor shower. I can’t see the Milky Way’s majesty these days because of light pollution, and sadly, I’m not alone.

According to a new global atlas of light pollution, the Milky Way is “a faded memory to one third of humanity and 80 percent of Americans.”

All I see when looking up at the night sky is an inky dull blackness, or a foggy haze created by the lights of the city bouncing off atmospheric particles or clouds. This is what most of us in the United States experience on a nightly basis.

Sure, we have our national parks to visit, and most of the boast wonderful nighttime views of our home galaxy. But not all of us can get there, so we must rely on others to provide us photographs. I love those, of course, but that’s all they are — photographs.

The United States isn’t the only one missing out on views of our home galaxy. Light pollution is most extensive in countries like Singapore, Italy and South Korea. However, if you’re in Canada or Australia, chances are you’ll have a better chance of seeing the Milky Way in all her glory. In addition, only small areas of night sky remain relatively undiminished in western Europe, mainly in Scotland, Sweden and Norway.

You can read my full article on



10 thoughts on “Most of us will never see the Milky Way, and here’s why

  1. I guess I was fortunate to have lived the past 20 years in the Northern wilderness of Alaska, where it feels like one can almost reach out and touch the stars.


  2. We have a summer home up in the mountains – no lights anywhere around us – the sky is clear and beautiful – you can see millions of stars – we even see shooting stars all the time…it’s awesome! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s