The Milky Way is totally invisible to a shocking number of people

The Milky Way is totally invisible to a shocking number of people

A new study finds that literally billions of people can't see the Milky Way.

Look up into the night sky — if you’re like most Americans and Europe, you won’t see much.

A new study published in the journal science advances finds that a third of the world’s population — and the majority of Americans and Europeans — can’t see the Milky Way.

Why? It’s because of a phenomenon called light pollution. As technology advances and more and more cities are lit up throughout the night, we are unable to see the distant stars due to the intense light all around us 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

An international team of scientists created a map of artificial light intensity worldwide. An incredible 99 percent of Americans and 83 percent of Europeans are bathed in artificial light.

“The atlas documents a world that is in many places awash with light,” the statement reads. “In Western Europe, only a few small areas remain where the night sky remains relatively unpolluted, including areas in Scotland, Sweden, Norway, and parts of Spain and Austria. In addition to a world map, the scientists provide tables showing the area of each country and what fraction of its population live under highly light polluted skies. The authors specifically examined the G20 countries, finding that in terms of area, Italy and South Korea are the most polluted, and Canada and Australia the least. Residents of India and Germany are most likely to be able to see the Milky Way from their home, while those in Saudi Arabia and South Korea are least likely.”

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