NASA has collected data on usage of lights during the night across the globe using the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite and a visible/infrared imager radiometer suite (VIIRS) system. They used the software to produce more accurate, high quality images of the lights turned on at night. NASA scientists expected to see a decrease in brightness in certain areas such as wealthy cities and industrial areas as they switched to LED lights from sodium lights, but these areas became brighter instead.
The NASA scientists used the VIIRS system to collect and filter data to check and measure the brightness of the lights used outside. The downside of using this system is that it is unable to interpret blue light at a low wavelength, meaning light pollution could potentially be worse than this research suggests. This loss of natural night sky and threatens plants, animals and humans as it affects the natural body clocks and activity of the animals and insects that pollinate crops.
The data collected concludes that from 2012 to 2016, the artificially lit areas outdoors increased by around 2.2% across the globe per year. To control the amount of light pollution at night, lower intensity lights could be used as well as replacing blue/violet LEDs with the amber ones.