a night sky full of stars
Photo by KEHN HERMANO on Pexels.com

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History will debut Thursday its “Lights Out: Recovering Our Night Sky,” a 4,430-square-foot exhibition about how the night sky — and its disappearance due to light pollution — affects all life on Earth, from natural ecosystems to human culture.

The exhibition will come as surveys indicate that 80% of people in the world live under some degree of light-polluted skies. In North America, 80% of people cannot see the Milky Way galaxy due to light pollution.

“’Lights Out’ will give visitors the opportunity to learn what is at stake as the stars and cosmos fade from our view at night,” said Kirk Johnson, the Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History. “And we’ll also offer them the tools and resources they need to help rebuild and preserve the night sky in their own communities.”

The exhibition will feature photographs, objects from the museum’s collection, and interactive displays. There will be accommodations for blind and low vision, experimental and multisensory learning, and audio-oriented visitors.

The exhibition will remain on view through December 2025.

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