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The night sky in my vicinity has been rather poor in stars even when it was (presumably) clear of clouds:

night sky at Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, on 2022-10-02 at 23:00

You can see an slight orange glow, which hides faint objects in the sky. Here is a full-size version of this picture and an annotated version.

Parameters:

  • Canon EOS 70D (astromod.) + Canon EF 24–105 mm IS f/4 L
  • ISO 1600
  • f/4
  • 8"
  • 54 mm
  • 2022-10-02 23:00

Location: Sandkrug (near Oldenburg), Germany

Direction: W

Here is the corresponding star chart:

star chart Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, on 2022-10-02 at 23:00

Where does this mysterious "glow" come from? Cirrostratus clouds? Aerosols? Light pollution? I've got a small town in western direction, but some 3 years ago I didn't observe such heavy light pollution.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like light pollution to me but without knowing where this shot was taken, it's hard to tell. \$\endgroup\$
    – MrUpsidown
    Oct 4, 2022 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps the small town has a lighted industrial park which wasn't there three years ago, or a floodlit sports pitch with a game in play. Or perhaps they replaced the street lights with a more polluting kind. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 4, 2022 at 17:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MrUpsidown Location added. \$\endgroup\$
    – Neppomuk
    Oct 4, 2022 at 20:58

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According to Lightpollutionmap.info, it looks like you are in a fairly polluted area, described as Rural/suburban transition (class 4 on the Bortle Dark Sky Scale) where

  • light pollution domes are visible in several directions
  • the Milky Way well above the horizon is still impressive, but lacks detail
  • surroundings are clearly visible, even at a distance

According to your own statements, you said you didn't observe such heavy light pollution some 3 years ago but it might well be that

  • some new light sources might have been added during that 3 years span
  • some bright light sources were on during the night when you shot the picture you shared (sports venue / stadium lights / etc.)

You could try to observe the sky for several nights and/or at different times and see whether there are nights or times during which the sky gets darker. And if not, you will probably need to find a better (darker) place in your vicinity, if available, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So it's really increasing light pollution, which makes my night sky so ugly, right? Maybe it's got something to do with the large-scale replacement of gas discharge street lighting with LEDs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Neppomuk
    Oct 6, 2022 at 19:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Neppomuk worth a read physicsworld.com/a/… \$\endgroup\$
    – MrUpsidown
    Oct 6, 2022 at 19:44

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