So, this is a bit of a silly question admittedly, but it's something that seems obviously the case, yet we never really acknowledge or make a big deal out of.

Before the industrialisation and all the light pollution that came with it, could any random peasant just step out of their house / village and immediately have a night sky that we could only see in the Atacama desert today? Was this much more impressive and colorful firmament simply just a part of everyday life?

  • 2
    :) Amazingly, "yes!" Hard to imagine, ... :) Apr 8, 2022 at 18:06
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    Well, I suspect there were many nights in Europe with clouds in the way. Just altitude alone makes a big difference, as does (non-cloud) water vapor content.
    – Jon Custer
    Apr 8, 2022 at 18:15
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    Sure, the Milky Way was visible, but it likely still wasn't as impressive as in photographs.
    – pboss3010
    Apr 8, 2022 at 18:39
  • The "light contamination" of many areas today make it much less visible now than then, for most people. Apr 8, 2022 at 23:56
  • 1
    Hmmph. I had written a good answer and it closed just as I was trying to save it! I do think it has some historical value.
    – Mark Olson
    Apr 9, 2022 at 0:43


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