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Why is it that there are more stars at night in the rural areas than in ubarn areas?

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miss-bhengu | Student

Posted August 30, 2011 at 3:46 PM via web

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Why is it that there are more stars at night in the rural areas than in ubarn areas?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 30, 2011 at 7:40 PM (Answer #1)

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Now I am certainly no scientific expert, but I believe that the answer lies in the term light pollution. I have pasted a link below to a page on light pollution which should hopefully give you more information about this phenomenon, however, the basic idea is that there are the same amount of stars in the night sky in both urban and rural landscapes. The crucial difference is that in urban landscapes there is a high level of light pollution or lots of streetlights and lights from other buildings that result in a kind of glow that prevents us from seeing many stars, if any at all. In rural locations, there are less people and therefore less lights, resulting in a much lower level of light pollution and giving us an open night sky, free to be viewed in all of its glory. I remember once going to the centre of London one evening and being surprised at the kind of glow that there was in the sky. Needless to say, I couldn't see any stars at all.

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xinnia | Student, Undergraduate

Posted August 30, 2011 at 4:17 PM (Answer #2)

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Because usually in the country, there is less "light pollution" in the form of street lights, house lights, etc. When it's darker in your immediate surroundings, the sky is easier to see. Plus, there is usually less air pollution as well. This is why most astronomical observatories using light-collecting telescopes are found far out in the country, and/or on top of mountains - clear air, less light.

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