A fleet of 500 drones lit up a Candy Crush commercial over New York. Night sky ads are driving a wedge between humans and nature, astronomers say.

The word Candy Crush is created by 500 drones over the lower Manhattan skyline for the 10th anniversary of the Candy Crush video game on November 3, 2022, as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey.

The word Candy Crush was spelled out by 500 drones above the lower Manhattan skyline for the video game’s 10th anniversary, November 3, 2022.Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

  • A fleet of 500 drones lit up the New York skyline with a Candy Crush ad on Thursday.

  • Although it didn’t contribute significantly to light pollution in New York, astronomers say the event is a sign of our waning relationship with the night sky.

  • Experts say a third of humans on Earth can no longer see the Milky Way due to light pollution.

Five hundred drones soared over New York on Thursday evening, illuminating the Manhattan skyline with an advertisement celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Candy Crush video game.

In June, a similar performance in New York used hundreds of light-equipped drones to announce the next NBA Draft.

“Things like this should be stopped by laws if reason is lacking, as it seems, before it’s too late,” Fabio Falchi, a researcher at the Institute of Light Pollution Science and Technology who studies light pollution light pollution for more than 25 years. , said Insider. “Now, for the benefit of a company, the real stars will be replaced by these ultra-shining drones.”

New York City is hardly known for its stargazing. Astronomers say a swarm of drones didn’t add much light pollution to the already brightly lit city.

A heart is created by 500 drones above the horizon on November 3, 2022.

A heart formed by 500 drones above the New York skyline on November 3, 2022.Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

“Overall, this pales in comparison to the very many poor quality outdoor lights that are on all night in many US cities,” John Barentine, astronomer and consultant at Dark Sky Consulting, told Insider. “If it became a nighttime event, or if there were multiple such shows at the same time, I would be more nervous about it.”

Astronomers like Barentine say it’s a sign of humanity’s waning relationship with the night sky. “If I can’t get people to care about stars they can’t see anyway, then we’ll only see more of them in the future rather than less. And that’s a real loss for people. around the world,” he added. .

Falchi pointed to companies in Russia that are creating space-based billboards that will use satellites to display advertisements in low Earth orbit.

Light pollution, which can include the brightening of the night sky by artificial light, can prevent us from having a clear view of the stars.

Light pollution is getting worse. A September 2021 study using satellite data found that global light pollution had increased by at least 49% from 1992 to 2017.

Milky Way captured with long exposure photography technique.  Milkyway is the visible part of our galaxy that contains our solar system, as seen in the night sky from Tymfi mountain in the Pindos range in Epirus.  Night landscape on the mountain with the colorful dome of the Milky Way, the cloudless sky in the mountains with the starry sky with hills in summer with the beautiful Universe and Space background.  Timfi mountain, Pindus, Greece, July 2022

The Milky Way over Timfi mountain in Greece, July 2022.Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In a 2016 study, Falchi and other researchers estimated that even on the clearest night, the Milky Way was hidden from large swaths of humanity. In 2016, 99% of people in the United States and Europe lived with some degree of light pollution every night, according to the study.

It may not be as deadly as other types of pollution, but light pollution can harm animals and humans. Numerous studies have indicated that light pollution – from streetlights, light screens and other sources – disorients migrating birds and plays a role in declining insect populations. For humans, exposure to light at night can disrupt the body’s biological clock, which is linked to health complications including obesity, depression and sleep disturbances.

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