Starry Starry Night......美國民謠（folk）歌手Don McLean名曲《Vincent》不少人耳熟能詳，壯麗的銀河（Milky Way）更孕育無數藝術作品。然而在銀河下倚星細語（whisper）的浪漫畫面，對都市人來說或許只是遙不可及的幻想。
內地方面，長三角（Yangtze River Delta）、珠三角（Pearl River Delta）、北京、天津等地光污染最為嚴重；香港和台灣地區也難以看到銀河。
美國科學家埃爾維奇也表示，國民如今只有在黃石公園（Yellowstone National Park）等保護區才能逃離（escape）都市光源。
除了阻礙觀星（stargaze），光害可干擾人體的晝夜節律（circadian rhythms），增加失眠（insomnia）、抑鬱（depression）、糖尿病（diabetes）和乳癌（breast cancer）等風險。
1. 「光污染」除了稱作light pollution，還可稱作什麼？
1. Photopollution/ luminous pollution
2. Ecological light pollution
4. Light trespass（光害騷擾）、over-illumination（過度照明）、glare（眩光）、light clutter（雜亂）、skyglow（霞光）
5. Light-emitting diode（發光二極管）
Well known by its opening line "Starry Starry Night", the song "Vincent" by the American folk singer Don McLean is so popular among the public, and the Milky Way has inspired numerous works of art and literature in human civilization.
However, being able to whisper romantically under the Milky Way seems to be an impossible dream for many people living in big cities. The latest study found that one-third of the world's population cannot see the Earth's galaxy from their homeland, while the situation is most critical in the east coast of the United States, Western Europe and East Asia. Researchers called for reduction of light pollution with the hope to resume a starry night sky.
The researchers launched an investigation into the satellite data collected from over 20,000 places globally, and then carried out data analyses by software to create a global atlas of light pollution, with the report released previously.
It is said that about 83% of the world's population are affected by light pollution, including almost all Americans and Europeans. People living in the European countries like France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy can no longer see the Milky Way, and only a few suburbs located in Northern Europe remain relatively unaffected.
The more developed the more serious
The most light-polluted country by population is Singapore, where its citizens can never see the entire sky at night; more than 95% of people in Kuwait and Qatar live under light pollution.
The countries with populations least affected by light pollution are Chad, the Central African Republic and Madagascar, with more than three-quarters of locals in these countries enjoying a great starry sky.
In mainland China, the hardest-hit regions include the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, Beijing and Tianjin; while people in Hong Kong and Taiwan can barely have a look at the galaxy. Other parts of Asia such as Seoul, Busan, Tokyo, Osaka, New Delhi, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City are also experiencing heavy light pollution, but people in North Korea, Myanmar and Cambodia can still live under non-polluted skies. Among the more developed G20 countries, the territories of Italy and South Korea are the most polluted, whereas Canada and Australia are the least affected.
Fabio Falchi, the Italian scientist who led the research project, said that the universe is not only magnificent but also closely connected with the human civilization in terms of art, philosophy and religion; unfortunately, the grand view of the universe is hidden by artificial lights. He hoped the research could help raise the public awareness of the adverse impacts of light pollution.
American scientist Chris Elvidge also said that only people living near the protected areas such as the Yellowstone National Park are lucky enough to have escaped from urban light sources.
Disturbs human and animal rhythms
Apart from hindering stargazing, light pollution may also disrupt the human circadian rhythms and therefore increase the risk of insomnia, depression, diabetes and breast cancer.
Light pollution also causes ecological impacts such as disturbing the daily life of insects, birds and turtles, and consequently posing a serious threat to these animals.
Scientists called for the reduction of light pollution by taking various measures such as turning off unnecessary lights, reducing direct light emission into the sky, and limiting the use of "blue" light that interferes with the ecosystem.
Technology may also help to reduce the impacts of light pollution. The implementation of adaptive street lighting and driverless cars may reduce the need for roadway lighting, for example.