After a three-year expedition across North America, filmmakers and photographers Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinović have finally completed a photobook and series of time-lapse videos showcasing an issue that many people may overlook, namely “skyglow.”
According to the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, skyglow is created from both artificial and natural sources, but the most troubling aspect is the artificial human-made sources.
Skyglow is that glow in the sky that makes it difficult to view the stars at night. Think of a time you were in a city or a densely populated area at night. When you looked up into the night sky, how many stars could you see? Probably far less than if you looked up into the sky while you were in a more rural landscape.
In April 2015, the filmmaking duo created a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds so they could showcase the beauty of the night sky from places where skyglow was not an issue. They also hoped to bring awareness to the growing problem.
With these funds they traveled over 150,000 miles and captured 3 million pictures of the night sky.
On their site, they describe their project as an exploration of “the history and importance of celestial observation on humans, the proliferation of electrical outdoor lighting spurring the rise of the phenomena known as Light Pollution, and the Dark-Sky Movement which is fighting back to reclaim the pristine night skies the Earth had enjoyed for billions of years.”
Not only does skyglow affect scientists trying to study celestial bodies, but it also has a harmful affect on humans, nocturnal animals, and is a factor in the amount of lost energy in the United States.
Not everyone is privileged to see this beautiful nighttime scenery.
Some of these photos and video clips will take your breath away.
You can watch a trailer for the project in the video below.
If you’re now left wondering where you can enjoy the sky and all it has to offer at night, check out this map, which details the areas where light pollution is and isn’t a problem, then head to an area where skyglow is almost non-existent.