This Is How Stars Would Look Over NYC If It Weren't So Freaking Light Polluted

What Times Square might look like if you could actually see the stars.
What Times Square might look like if you could actually see the stars.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen the Little Dipper—the 2003 blackout, a family trip to the Grand Canyon, a camping trip, and a stargazing drive through Wisconsin cut short by the cold. I don’t remember ever seeing the faint band of the Milky Way. Growing up in New York’s suburbs, there just aren’t many stars visible in the night sky.

So you can imagine that this new video from SKYGLOW has hit pretty close to home. It’s not real footage—it’s video of New York City with the stars from dark-sky locations like the Grand Canyon and Death Valley superimposed on top.


We’ve been covering the SKYGLOW folks for a while now, as they film existential crisis-inducing timelapses of the sky from landmarks like the Grand Canyon and Carhenge. The SKYGLOW project seeks to raise awareness of light pollution and disappearing night skies. They’ve previously made a similar video of Los Angeles.

April 15 to 21 is the Dark Sky Association’s Dark Sky Week, which, I mean, it doesn’t seem like New York City plans on turning out the lights to honor. Aside from blackouts, NYC will probably never look like this. The closest dark-sky spots are all several hours away by car, so celebrating might require a vacation.

Watching this video makes me want to move.



Former Gizmodo physics writer and founder of Birdmodo, now a science communicator specializing in quantum computing and birds

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i was in chelsea for roughly 24 hours during the 2003 blackout, and while not quite as poetic as the video above, they definitely caught the gist of it - the only thing missing is the free bodega ice cream and pub beers that were being handed out before they all spoiled.

and it was, on a personal note, a nice balm to ease the lingering fright of looking up into the sky just a few years earlier, and seeing fighter jets on patrol.