FLight Pollution

FLight Pollution – Stars and Satellites and Planes, Oh My!

When looking up in the night sky it can be an awe inspiring experience, but it can also be alarming. While many people focus on light pollution being an issue an equally alarming issue is FLight pollution (Flight + Light = FLight pollution). This doesn’t get much attention primarily because few photographers photograph and present sequences of images to highlight the problem. While much of my time  is spent cloning plane and satellite trails out of my fine art star trail photography, I thought it would be good to share what the night sky actually looks like over 90 minutes. As you’d imagine there are a good number of flights that pass overhead in 90 minutes and at night you can see them all.

Location Info:
This particular photo was taken of the Minarets in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Mammoth Lakes, CA.


Jim Goldstein is a professional photographer and author, based out of the San Francisco bay area in California, who specializes in outdoor and nature photography. Passionate about nature and the environment Jim infuses elements of the natural world into his commercial, editorial and fine art work. For more follow Jim on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Subscribe
  1. Ideas_R_Bulletproof

    great image to create awareness…. most people like ‘clean’ fine art photos…. we’re mostly driven by commercial aspects of photography….

  2. tobykeller

    I don’t find it alarming at all… annoying, sure—I’ve spent my share of hours cloning out aircraft trails… but it seems to me this is a necessary compromise we’ve made in order to have all the wonderful things air travel allows.

    Should we divert flights around “scenic” areas? We then increase risk and noise by flying over populated areas. Worse, we do more harm to the natural wonders in question by burning more fuel and depositing more pollutants in the atmosphere.

    Should we require planes to fly “dark”, with no lights? We then risk lives from in-air collisions (the blinkies on wingtips tell which way the plane is flying, which allows pilots to avoid crossing paths).

    Just curious… what would you change?

  3. Clippingimages

    Beautifully captured…..love it….very impressive

  4. Irina Matache

    Really an inspiring experience with a great and awesome photograph !!