It’s no wonder so many of you can’t see the Milky Way at night.
The best-yet look at Earth’s artificial light has been captured by NASA’s new Suomi NPP satellite. The main shot of the United States is a composite of high-resolution images taken in April and October 2012. As you might expect, the East Coast is the worst offender for light pollution, while much of the West still remains your best bet for a celestial display that many of us have likely never seen.
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“In the end, humans are no less trapped by light pollution than the frogs in a pond near a brightly lit highway,” writes Verlyn Klinkenborg for National Geographic. “Living in a glare of our own making, we have cut ourselves off from our evolutionary and cultural patrimony—the light of the stars and the rhythms of day and night. In a very real sense, light pollution causes us to lose sight of our true place in the universe, to forget the scale of our being, which is best measured against the dimensions of a deep night with the Milky Way—the edge of our galaxy—arching overhead.”
To view more photos of Earth at night as captured by Suomi, hit NASA’s gallery here. Check out a fantastic NASA video on the new photos below.