Diversions: Light Pollution and London

Nighttime skies in San Diego are less lit than in some other cities, but it’s still a shock when you get outside the city at night and see the tapestry of stars overhead. There is a good piece on the subject in the current National Geographic, and it contains this fascinating observation:

For most of human history, the phrase "light pollution" would have made no sense. Imagine walking toward London on a moonlit night around 1800, when it was Earth’s most populous city. Nearly a million people lived there, making do, as they always had, with candles and rushlights and torches and lanterns. Only a few houses were lit by gas, and there would be no public gaslights in the streets or squares for another seven years. From a few miles away, you would have been as likely to smell London as to see its dim collective glow.

More here.


  1. My Aunt lived in Wawa, ON. It is on the NE shore of Lake Superior. The sky up there…

    My cousin is also an astro buff, I'm glad he dragged my butt out on nights like the persiad meteor showers.