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Find a Front Row Seat For Gazing at the Cosmos With This Dark Sky Park Map

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ISTOCK

Unless you live out on a mountaintop somewhere, there’s a good chance your view of the night sky comes with at least some light pollution. We have a few suggestions about where to stargaze, but as Lifehacker reports, the International Dark Sky Association’s map tool is also a great way to plan a killer celestial-seeking road trip.

The resource lists designated “Dark Sky” areas around the world, so you can search out (relatively) local spots, or find destinations for your next trip. Their locations are largely in the U.S., but range everywhere from northern Michigan to Yeongyang, South Korea. The Dark Sky spots represent protected areas—both publicly and privately owned—that will remain free from the interference of urban life. The locations are considered and rated based on a series of factors, with the cream of the crop earning a “Gold-tier” designation.

To get the absolute best view of the night sky, check out all the certified International Dark Sky Parks, complete with dreamy photographs. And if you think you might know of a potential Dark Sky area, see the organization’s guidelines here

[h/t Lifehacker]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

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Land Cover CCI, ESA
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Afternoon Map
European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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National Low Income Housing Coalition
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Live Smarter
How Many Hours You Need to Work to Pay Rent in Each State
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National Low Income Housing Coalition

According to a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a full-time worker in the U.S. must earn, on average, $17.14 per hour to comfortably afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent [PDF]. That said, even the nation’s highest minimum wage—which, starting in 2020, is slated to be pegged at $15 in Washington D.C.—isn’t enough to meet these numbers.

This raises the question: How many hours would the average minimum wage worker in each state need to work per week to afford their one-bedroom abodes, without paying more than 30 percent of their overall income? (Spoiler: Those earning the bare federal minimum of $7.25 per hour would need to work 94.5 hours per week—the equivalent of 2.4 full time jobs—to achieve this feat.)

The NLIHC broke down their comprehensive nationwide findings in the map above:

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