Bad News, Stargazers: The Night Sky is Disappearing Before Our Eyes

Email a Friend
Since the Kepler Space Telescope launched in 2009, scientists on Earth have been able to use its eyes to confirm the existence of over a thousand exoplanets in just one sliver of the galaxy.
From and

Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear this segment.

A new study published in the journal Science Advances finds that one third of the world's population, and 80 percent of Americans, are unable to see the Milky Way because of rampant light pollution. What happens to our connection to the cosmos when the stars are no longer visible?

A number of Takeaway listeners called in to tell us about their past and current relationship with the stars, lamenting how they can no longer see them, or delivering poems, like this one from Marcy in New York: 

"I stood upon that silent hill

and stared into the sky

until my eyes went blind with stars

and still I stared into the sky.”

These are all stories familiar to Jason Kendall, adjunct professor of astronomy at William Paterson University, and a member of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York. His fascination with the night sky was inspired by his great grandfather, a preacher who gave sermons under the sky with the motto, "We look up to look within."

Jason joins The Takeaway to discuss his personal connection to the night sky, and how our inability to see stars strips us of one of the deeply human relationships with the natural world. Click on the 'Listen' button above to hear our full conversation. 

Related: Brave New Worlds: Looking for Life in The Goldilocks Zone