Video: Imagining how beautiful cities would look without light pollution

It’s easy to remember how big the universe is when you can just stare up at the night sky and find an uncountable number of stars and see every color of the cosmos staring right back at you. But it’s not like that anymore. Now we’re surrounded by city lights of our own creation and hiding the rest of the universe with light pollution. It sucks.


Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic want to take a closer look at light pollution too. They’re making a book (funding through Kickstarter) and timelapse series, Skyglow, to explore “the most exotic dark sky locations and archaeoastronomy sites” and “examine the increasing impact of light pollution on our fragile environment.”

The promo video they made for their project below is fun because it combines the city lights of Los Angeles at night with impossibly dark skies filled with stars of every size. It’s something we’ll never see in real life but still cool to see in execution.

To find out more about their project, head here.

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I have seen this.

On January 17, 1994, I was working the night shift in a cannery in Vernon, Ca. At 4:30 am, the whole world started shaking. The 6.7 Mw Northridge quake not only flattened hundreds of buildings, it knocked out all the power to central Los Angeles. After we made sure everyone in the plant was safe, many of us left to go check on our families. I was driving north on the Golden State Freeway in Boyle Heights. At one location, there is an unobstructed view of the LA skyline. It was a clear winter night with no smog. I looked to my left and saw the black outlines of the buildings against the shimmering starfield. I wish I had my camera that night.

This is about where I was. Imagine this reversed, with everything below black and the sky above filled with stars.