This (left) is your sky. And this (right) is your sky on ONE MAJOR LIGHT SOURCE. So it's no surprise that suburban starscapes have been totally desaturated by the lights on buildings, roads, and parking lots. Less than half the U.S. — and almost none of Europe — has dark enough night skies to see the Milky Way.

Grist relies on the support of generous readers like you. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations matched!

It's an easy fix, though, at least in theory. Replacing street lights with full cutoff lights, below, saves money and reduces glare while also giving us back the stars.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.