Lost in Light gradually transports you from light-blighted cities to sanctuaries for star-gazing.

It’s thought that, thanks to light pollution, one-third of the world’s population can’t see the Milky Way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hunt stars near urban centers, as this short film documents with excellent, naturally blazing nocturnal skies.

Made by Sriram Murali, Lost in Light begins under the soupy, human-lit heavens of Silicon Valley and progressively moves to less-and-less inhabited areas of California (plus Crater Lake in Oregon). Murali’s goal was to “shoot at every level of light pollution,” he writes, a challenge he accomplished using resources like Dark Site Finder. Here’s more from his rather-wistful project description:

Imagine if we lived under skies full of stars. That reminder we are a tiny part of this cosmos, the awe and a special connection with this remarkable world would make us much better beings—more thoughtful, inquisitive, empathetic, kind and caring. Imagine kids growing up passionate about astronomy looking for answers and how advanced humankind would be, how connected and caring we’d feel with one another, how noble and adventurous we’d be. How compassionate with fellow species on Earth and how one with Nature we’d feel.

Even in places with a medium level of light pollution—like Monte Bello Preserve, about an hour’s drive southeast of San Francisco—the star-shows can profound. Mark them down for the next time you want to catch a meteor shower; just remember to bring a warm blanket and watch out for mountain lions.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  2. A photo of the interior of a WeWork co-working office.
    Design

    WeWork Wants to Build the ‘Future of Cities.’ What Does That Mean?

    The co-working startup is hatching plans to deploy data to reimagine urban problems. In the past, it has profiled neighborhoods based on class indicators.

  3. An illustration of a private train.
    Transportation

    Let’s Buy a Train

    If you dream of roaming the U.S. in a your own personal train car, you still can. But Amtrak cuts have railcar owners wondering if their days are numbered.

  4. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

  5. Life

    The Bias Hiding in Your Library

    The ways libraries classify books often reflect a “straight white American man” assumption.