How does light pollution affect views through my telescope?

Light pollution makes the sky much brighter than the natural night sky. It has significant impacts on astronomy, drowning out the light from faint objects like galaxies and nebulae and increasing the sky background for faint stars. 

Your views will be very different in a dark country sky versus a light-polluted city. Your naked-eye view will be stunning in dark skies and correspondingly beautiful when observing through the eyepiece. Remote locations usually have less air pollution, haze and often better seeing conditions than urban observing sites.

Here are examples (nebula, open cluster and a galaxy) of what you can see in a dark sky versus a light-polluted sky through 6 and 11 inch telescopes. (Your actual views may differ.)

The planetary nebula M57 with an 11 inch in a dark sky 
 

 

 

 

 

 






With a light-polluted sky
  


M57 with an 6 inch in a dark sky
 

With a light-polluted sky


The Double Cluster with an 11 inch in a dark sky


The Double Cluster with an 6 inch in a dark sky


With a light-polluted sky


The Andromeda Galaxy with an 11 inch in a dark sky
  

With a light-polluted sky


The Andromeda Galaxy with an 6 inch in a dark sky


With a light-polluted sky



Updated 12/20/13