Light Pollution

Light pollution – the adverse effects from artificial light.

Have you flown over a populated area at night recently?  Remember how lit up the houses, office buildings and highways were?  All that artificial light is creating light pollution.

Some adverse effects of light pollution can include decreased visibility at night, energy waste, disruption of ecosystems, and various human health problems. In some areas it’s difficult to wish upon a star because you can’t see them!  A recent report claims that two thirds of the country’s population lives where they cannot see the Milky Way.  Think about dark skies as an endangered natural resource like oceans, or clean air.  They need protecting.

The Dark Sky Movement began in the early 80’s, campaigning to reduce the effects of unnatural lighting on the environment by reducing light pollution.

For more information go to www.darksky.org.*

There are many efforts to preserve night sky quality and one has recently caught my eye.  It’s the National Park Service’s Night Sky Team.  This team measures and monitors changes to night sky brightness. The National Park Service has committed to preserve the natural lightscapes of its parks. The Park Service will not use artificial lighting in areas where its presence will disrupt dark-dependent natural biological resource components like sea turtle nesting locations.

There is no suggestion that we eliminate night lighting.  There are ways to light the night that are friendlier to the night sky than many of our current practices.  Here are some tips from the National Park Service:

  • Use outdoor lights only where they are needed
  • Direct all light downward by using shielded lights and aiming them down
  • Use motion sensors and timers to insure lights are on only when needed
  • Use the right amount of light, not too much, not too little
  • In darker areas, use less light to prevent disrupting night vision

Read National Geographic’s article on light pollution.

Check out Christina Seely’s You Tube video on night light pollution.

See our more comprehensive article at What is Dark Sky?

*2017 – *This year’s International Dark Sky’s Week celebrations begin Saturday, April 22 Earth Day!), and run through Friday, April 28 (click here for resources to use during the week).