Contrasting trends in light pollution across Europe

Two weeks ago, Jonathan Bennie and colleagues (Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, UK) released a paper (free download on nature.com) that caught my attention, because it's results are pretty unexpected. Analyzing satellite data (DMSP) from 1995-2000 and 2005-2010, Bennie et al. found that light pollution has grown significantly across Europe in the last 15 years, but not everywhere: Some large areas and even entire countries experienced a decline in night brightness. This is good news for stargazers like me (and for society as a whole) but raises some questions.