I knew that the US population was skewed towards the east... But I've never seen such a stark illustration of how clean a break it is between east and west as this dark sky map before!
Must be glorious, stargazing wise to live in that west side of the country.
Funny thing is, only slightly more of the US population lives east of the Mississippi than lives west of the Mississippi. 58% east vs. 42% west. The delta of just 8%. But you easterners clearly have 90% of the light pollution.
It's really not so much population numbers as population distribution. Were the two halves 50-50 the LP map would look pretty much the same. Western population is concentrated along the coast. Eastern population is more homogeneously distributed over the region. Where people, light pollution. It would be an easy problem to fix, really. Most small towns in the eastern half are dying slow deaths anyway (population decline, vacant homes and businesses, etc.). One reason the west has so much dark landmass is that we have much, much more public land (national parks, large military bases, state parks, federal preserves, BLM lands, etc.). Use imminent domain powers, buy up huge swaths of the rural rust belt, meth belt and big chunks of the rural south cheaply, and convert them to environmentally protected public lands - let nature reclaim them. You'd have your dark without needing to travel so far to find it.
I’d sell my meth belt farmland to Uncle Sam for a project like that. I actually have two small farms and more extensive mineral and energy rights in southern Illinois. That’s home for me; I’d love to see it turned into a National Park rather than dry up into ghost towns.
Edited by jrbarnett, 23 January 2020 - 11:27 PM.