Under Lucky Stars

Clear Night Sky

If Light Pollution Cleared

Whether it’s simply gazing up at the stars, staying up late to catch a glimpse of a pink moon or cracking out the telescope in the hopes of witnessing the big meteor shower, humans have been mesmerized by the beauty of the night sky for thousands of years.

The night sky is one of nature’s most beautiful creations but as cities expand and populations increase, so does the demand for artificial lighting such as street lights. Whilst practical and essential for day to day living, this lighting affects our view of the sky with the naked eye, and it is now impossible to see the Milky Way in large cities and metropolitan areas due to the light pollution it creates.

But what would a clear sky look like?

We compiled skyline photos taken by photographers across 27 locations and reimagined them to reveal what the skies could look like across the globe if they were free from light pollution.

Marvel at some of the most stunning skylines across the world, take a breath, and drink in the beauty of a clear night sky. Happy star-gazing!

Barcelona

Spain

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Beijing

China

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Berlin

Germany

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Buenos Aires

Argentina

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Cairo

Egypt

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Cape Town

South Africa

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Chicago

USA

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Delhi

India

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Dubai

United Arab Emirates

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Hong Kong

China

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Houston

USA

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Lisbon

Portugal

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

London

United Kingdom

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Los Angeles

USA

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Miami

USA

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Milan

Italy

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Montreal

Canada

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Moscow

Russia

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

New York

USA

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Paris

France

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Rio De Janeiro

Brazil

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Rotterdam

Netherlands

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Seoul

South Korea

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Singapore

Asia

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Sydney

Australia

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Tokyo

Japan

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

Toronto

Canada

BORTLE: Class 8-9
BORTLE: Class 1-2

What is light pollution?

Light pollution refers to the obtrusive effects of excessive artificial lighting. Usually referring to outdoor lighting, light pollution is generally caused by man-made lighting systems, such as street lights.

This washes out the starlight in the night sky, preventing the naked eye from being able to see the stars clearly. Not only that, but light pollution can also interfere with astronomical research.

The Bortle Scale

The night sky’s brightness in a particular location is measured using The Bortle Scale. The Bortle Scale is a numeric scale consisting of nine-levels, which quantifies the astronomical observability of the stars and any interference caused by light pollution.

The images featuring a dark sky are the view of the city’s skyline now, which are all rated at an 8-9 on the Bortle Scale. This means that the skies here are brilliantly lit, so most of the formed constellations are completely invisible to the naked eye, masked by artificial light.

We have reimagined these images, editing them to create a clear sky which would class as a 1-2 on the Bortle Scale. This is what would be visible if there was no light pollution - so even galaxies can be seen!

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