How Light Pollution Changes Our View of the Orion Constellation

How much of an impact does light pollution have on how we see the night sky? Photographer Sriram Murali has created a new video that aims to show us the answer.

Back in 2016, Murali released a video titled “Lost in Light” that showed scenes shot in places ranging from Class 8 and 9 (the view from cities) to Class 1 (the darkest skies on Earth). That video went viral and went on to be featured by National Geographic.

But Murali wanted to create a followup that more people could relate to, and that’s what led to the video above, titled “Lost in Light II.” While the original video focused on the Milky Way, this new one focuses on the Orion Constellation.

The Orion Constellation. Note the distinctive 3-star “Orion’s Belt.” Photo by Mouser.

“In the last video, the only downfall was that people weren’t able to relate to the Milky Way,” Murali says. “One, they’ve never seen it, and two, it doesn’t look like that to our eyes.”

“This latest video shows the Orion constellation, a more common sight,” Murali tells PetaPixel. “The idea is to show something that people are used to seeing. Orion is visible even in the most light polluted areas. It’s a great subject to help explain light pollution.”

Here are a series of his photos showing what Orion looks like from Class 8 to Class 1:

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

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