This is How Light Pollution Affects How We See the Night Sky

Want to see light pollution changes photos of the starry night sky? Photographer Sriram Murali‘s new time-lapse short film will show you. Titled “Lost in Light,” it shows different locations with progressively lower levels of light pollution.

The project follows the Bortle scale of light pollution, which measures the brightness of the night sky. Class 8 and 9 are given to very bright city skies and inner-city skies, and Class 1 designates the darkest skies on Earth.

“Shot mostly in California, the movie shows how the view gets progressively better as you move away from the lights,” Murali writes. “Finding locations to shoot at every level of light pollution was a challenge and getting to the darkest skies with no light pollution was a journey in itself.”

Here are still frames from the short film showing each of the main light pollution classes:

Class 8: City sky


Class 7: Suburban/urban transition


Class 6: Bright suburban sky


Class 5: Suburban sky


Class 4: Rural/suburban transition


Class 3: Rural sky


Class 2: Typical truly dark site


Class 1: Excellent dark-sky site


“Here’s why I think we should care more,” Murali says. “The night skies remind us of our place in the Universe.”

“Imagine if we lived under skies full of stars. That reminder we are a tiny part of this cosmos, the awe and a special connection with this remarkable world would make us much better beings,” he continues. “But in reality, most of us live under heavily light polluted skies and some have never even seen the Milky Way. We take the skies for granted and are rather lost in our busy lives without much care for the view of the stars.”

“How does light pollution affect the night skies and quite possibly our lives?”

You can find more of Murali’s work on his website and on Instagram.