Why we are losing the night sky

It never gets dark anymore. Not REALLY dark, anyway. Not like it used to. Light pollution is not only making it more difficult to see the night sky, but it’s also affecting our health. For the past century and a half, since the dawn of electric light, we’ve been losing our connection to the night.

We need artificial light for modern society, of course. The problem is, we need darkness for our health, and for the health of wildlife and ecosystems, and we’re not getting enough of it. I traveled to McDonald Observatory in far west Texas, one of the darkest places in North America, to learn what people are doing in order to preserve dark skies, and to see truly dark skies for myself (and so I could show them to you!).

This video features time lapse night sky images that I’ve been collecting for the past few years, and I hope they make you feel something special. Turn out the lights, keep looking up, and don’t be afraid of the dark.

Watch the full video from PBS – It’s Okay to be Smart here.