If you’re on an overnight flight, you might have been looking forward to a gorgeous, clear view of the stars! That’s the whole reason you booked that window seat, right? But when night falls, you look out your window, and…no stars! They’re obviously still there…so what’s going on here?? Well, there are a few reasons!
Do you know, for example, what light pollution is? When you’re flying over a huge city like New York, London, or Tokyo, the stars have to compete with all of those artificial lights from the cities. It might seem crazy to think that man-made lights will block out the light of millions of stars, but the stars are much further away than those glowing city lights below!
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The Lighting in your cabin 0:24
Light Pollution 0:56
The Moon and its Light 1:53
Proximity to the Stars 2:15
Atmospheric Turbulence 2:51
Your Retinas 3:35
We Don’t Have Night Vision 4:09
Your Windows 4:44
How to see the stars from your flight 5:54
#planes #stars #brightside
– No matter how dim the lights might get as they’re turned down around bedtime, there are enough of them to make it difficult to see the stars – which, keep in mind, are still quite a few miles away!
– A lot of light pollution, like the kind you’ll get flying over a big city, can cause skyglow. Even if you aren’t flying directly over it, you can still see a big city to the left or right of you from a plane.
– The moon still blocks the light of some stars when you’re stargazing from Earth.
– It might feel like you’re much closer to the stars while up in your airplane, but in terms of miles and light-years, you aren’t really that much closer.
– Atmospheric turbulence is irregular air currents that are mixed around by the wind.
– Turbulence may bring in clouds, even on a clear night, which will block your view of the stars.
– The retina is the part of your eye that processes light. If you have any pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, or have had any head trauma, your retinas may not work properly, and you may not be able to see the stars.
– It takes us 10-20 minutes for our eyes to acclimate to the dark. So if you’re trying to see the stars from your plane and can’t, don’t give up too quickly!
– The windows of an airplane are oddly shaped and on the small side, only reaching from about shoulder to elbow; not ideal for stargazing.
– Assuming that it’s a clear night, one option is to cover your head and sides of your face with your travel blanket. The goal here is to block out all the unnatural light from inside the cabin.
– You could also try asking the flight attendants if they could shut off the cabin lights for a minute or two.
– If you’re flying over an area with no skyglow or light pollution, and the lights are off in the cabin, you should be able to see some stars once your eyes adjust.
– If you’re doing some nighttime flying over Idaho, Utah, Colorado, or British Columbia, you just might be in for the sight of a lifetime! These parts of the U.S. are homes to many protected national parks and nature reserves, so there’s no danger of light pollution or skyglow.
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