The Loss of Dark Skies Is So Painful, Astronomers Coined a New Term For It: ‘Noctalgia’

Humanity is slowly losing access to the night sky, and astronomers have invented a new term to describe the pain associated with this loss: “noctalgia,” meaning “sky grief.” reports: Along with our propensity for polluting air and water and the massive amounts of carbon we’re dumping into the atmosphere to trigger climate change, we have created another kind of pollution: light pollution. […] Given the harmful effects of light pollution, a pair of astronomers has coined a new term to help focus efforts to combat it. Their term, as reported in a brief paper in the preprint database arXiv and a letter to the journal Science, is “noctalgia.” In general, it means “sky grief,” and it captures the collective pain we are experiencing as we continue to lose access to the night sky.

Thankfully, there is a way to tackle noctalgia, just as there are ways to combat climate change. On the ground, efforts have sprung up across the globe to create dark-sky reserves, where surrounding communities pledge not to encroach with further expansions of light pollution. […] Tackling satellite-based pollution is another matter, as that will require international cooperation and pressure on companies like SpaceX to be better stewards of the skies they are filling with equipment.


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