How do you beat light pollution? Try 40 OLED displays.


The beauty of the aurora borealis, as seen on a giant wall of screens.
The beauty of the aurora borealis, as seen on a giant wall of screens.
Photo: LG Electronics

This post is brought to you by LG Electronics.

It’s a sad fact that around a third of people on Earth — and some 80 percent of Americans — can no longer enjoy the glory of the night’s sky, due to light pollution. The celestial firmament has been a source of wonder and inspiration for the entirety of human existence, making its sudden disappearance a truly significant loss.

At this point, gradually raising awareness and improving visibility are basically all that can be done. The International Dark-Sky Association encourages sensible outdoor lighting that preserves as much of the night’s integrity as possible, while the World Wildlife Fund’s annual Earth Hour gets people shutting down their lights for 60 minutes every March.

Re-creating the aurora borealis with 40 LG OLED monitors

Electronics giant LG Electronics tried a different approach to shining light on the disappearing dark times, using the company’s latest OLED monitor to capture the beauty of earth’s most amazing natural light show.

At the Lights Out Stars On concert, held in July at Reykjavik’s Harpa Hall, LG put together a giant assembly of 40 screens to share an unobstructed view of the aurora borealis as it appeared over Iceland’s northern reaches.

Introduced by local environmental activist and light conservationist Andri Snær Magnason, the concert culminated with the re-creation of the Northern Lights, shot by a special film crew at the height of the phenomenon’s visibility the previous winter.

It might sound a bit dystopian, getting a clear view of the night’s sky through a set of computer monitors. But it’s the closest many people will ever get to seeing what modern society has cost us in terms of nighttime visibility.

And to the human eye, it was a compelling display. The 40 OLED screens made for a combined 330,000,000 self-emitting pixels. Each pixel emits its own light, meaning those that remain off are truly off — that means no backlight and a perfect black.

Because of the technical difficulties in achieving a perfect black next to strong sources of light, there are few better tests of a monitor than rendering a clear night’s sky. And there’s no better reason to try to make it work than to show people something they might not otherwise see.


Of course, it’s also a chance for LG to show off its new screens, which should be exciting to anyone who appreciates highly refined visual fidelity. If that’s you, here’s your chance to win a new LG OLED screen and share your own thoughts about the importance of the night sky in your life.

LG is running a Facebook contest through November 17. The company is collecting the most interesting stories it can find about people’s experience under a canopy of stars.

To enter, just go to the LG TV Facebook page and share your story. The person who tells the most compelling story will win an LG OLED TV (55E6).

Cities are growing bigger and glowing brighter, so unless you’re planning to move to the woods (which might not be a bad idea), you’re going to have to remember what the night sky really looks like. In the meantime, why not share your own nighttime memories, hear those of others, and maybe even win the only TV that can bring a clear night into your living room?


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