Light Pollution

Light pollution from improper outdoor lighting wastes billions of dollars and vast quantities of natural resources annually. Starry Night Lights is committed to fighting light pollution and restoring our heritage of star-filled skies. We offer the widest selection of night sky friendly outdoor lighting for your home or business.

Starting This Week, You Can Help Build a Better Map of Light Pollution

Posted on March 23, 2011 by Noel

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Earth at Night NASA

“During the next two weeks, you can help build a map of global light pollution, assisting scientists and astronomers as they monitor the loss of virgin night skies. You just have to look at the stars and write down what you see — or, more likely, what you don’t see.

The GLOBE At Night program is encouraging the public to look at certain constellations and compare observations with brightness maps on its site. You can enter your data in a new web app, accessible via tablets and mobile phones. The program, in its sixth year, hopes crowd-sourced night-sky observations will yield the most accurate Earth-at-night maps.

Satellite views like the one above can tell the story only so well; ground-based observations are a better gauge of how light from buildings and other infrastructure illuminates most people’s night skies.

By the turn of the millennium, two-thirds of the world no longer saw a virgin night sky, and in some places this may never be reversed. More than half the world’s population lives in cities, the most light-polluted of which prevent even the Big Dipper from being seen. Along with robbing us of our natural heritage, light pollution can be detrimental to human health, and it can also harm birds, sea turtles and bats, among many other creatures who are confused by artificial lighting.

The GLOBE At Night project runs through April 6.”

This is a picture of our ‘modern’ world. Overall, we have created many convenient things to help improve our lives: longer lifespan, lower infant mortality rate, increased access to education, etc. Sure, it’s not entirely uniform across the globe, but people are living longer, infants are surviving more and people have more access to education than we did a century ago. Yet look at the areas on the map, that many would consider ‘developed’ nations. Notice how bright they are. Although brightness seems to correlate with how populated an area is, does that really mean life there is really better? Perhaps. Since this is a blog about light pollution, I’d argue no. Light pollution creates more problems than solutions: breast cancer, depression, insomnia, an altered circadian rhythm, wastes an unnecessary amount of electricity and money and finally, loss of wildlife. Light pollution isn’t only a human problem, it affects nearly all life on Earth (creatures possessing a circadian rhythm). Read the facts. Get educated. Spread the word.

Let there be night!

The skies at night, are too darn bright

Posted on March 21, 2011 by Noel

Light pollution is a serious topic.

The term refers to wasted light that goes up into the sky instead of illuminating the ground. Almost everyone on the planet has seen it; anywhere near a city the glow from all that light goes into the sky, washing out the stars. Even far from urban areas, the effects are felt.

The obvious problem is for astronomers, who have to fight this added light when observing faint objects. To do this we have to build observatories far, far from cities, or even up in space. That’s expensive, inconvenient, and honestly just a pain in the rump.

But there are other issues as well: people lose sight of the sky, lose their ties with it. That’s bad enough, but there is also concern that, like with chemical or other forms of pollution, wildlife is affected. Mating cycles, hunters and hunted, sleeping cycles: all are affected by our wasted light.

In the journal PLoS ONE, a paper has just been published about the amount of light pollution in the sky. It’s sobering. Clouds over cities are very efficient at reflecting the lights (the picture above was taken at night, to give you an idea of how bad this is), and the researchers found that the sky brightness can increase by a factor of ten times in Berlin on cloudy nights. Of course, astronomers don’t observe when it’s cloudy, but the other effects on wildlife are still there… and this effect ranges far outside the city.

They created this map of lights in Berlin, in fact, with the goal of increasing the resolution enough to see just where all the bright and dark spots are:

Maps like that will help scientists better catalog the effects of light pollution.

Now, I know some folks may poopoo this whole thing, and not really care that much about how this affects astronomers and critters. Well, think of it this way then: every photon directed into the sky is a photon not helping you see the ground. It’s wasted energy and wasted money. More efficient lighting systems — ones that direct all the light down instead of up — save a lot of money. In many cases all it takes is a cover or other sort of shade over the top of a street light. You’ll need fewer lights, too, again saving money.

Better lighting helps everyone: astronomers, animals, and (city) administrators.”

This article pretty much hits the nail on the head. Starry Night Lights is committed to darkening our night skies and keeping it that way for all generations to come around the globe.

Let there be night!

Astronomy: A new generation starts to reach for the stars

Posted on March 19, 2011 by Noel

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“Amateur astronomy is experiencing a renaissance, with thousands of young people abandoning their computer games and taking to their telescopes at night to view the same heavenly objects that have fascinated and enthralled humanity for thousands of years.

Local societies of amateur astronomers are reporting a flood of interest in the quiet and patient art of watching the night sky after a series of high-profile television programmes about the visual wonders of the planets, stars and wider universe, fronted by Professor Brian Cox. Sales of telescopes have more than doubled over the past year and Scotland’s Galloway Forest Park has enjoyed a surge in visitors since 2009 when it became Europe’s first Dark Sky Park, judged to be the best place to view the stars and Milky Way with almost no interfering light pollution from nearby roads and towns.

When amateur astronomy societies have put on local observing events in back gardens or parks in the past, they would have been lucky to attract a few dozen people. Now they get hundreds of visitors all wanting to catch a glimpse of the sky through powerful amateur telescopes, said Mark Kukula, the public astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

“In the past month, I’ve given talks at two local astronomy societies which had organised stargazing events and both were absolutely swamped by members of the public,” Dr Kukula said. “It’s very different now, which is great. At the Observatory, we run telescope observing sessions and they’ve always been popular events but recently they have been sold out well in advance. We are running at full capacity. It’s hard to say why something suddenly grabs the imagination of people but it must have something to do with Brian Cox and his BBC series. I also suspect that it’s riding on a groundswell of wider interest in astronomy, which is so beautiful yet tackles the really big questions of the Universe, such as where do we come from.”

Many important observations, such as the discovery of comets and asteroids, have been made by amateurs using equipment set up in their back gardens, said Nigel Henbest, who co-writes The Independent’s monthly astronomy column. “A lot of exploding supernovas have been discovered by amateur astronomers and then followed up by professionals. They have also been important in finding variable stars that change in brightness for various reasons,” Dr Henbest said. “It’s absolutely true that amateur astronomy is experiencing a revival and I’m sure it can be put down to the wonders of Brian Cox.”

David Selfe, secretary of the Derby and District Astronomical Society said: “The recent programmes presented by Brian Cox have definitely helped to raise the profile of astronomy. Our society has had quite a few new people turn up as a direct result of these programmes.I think quite often people have an interest but are not sure how to go about finding out more. In the the Stargazing Live programme, it was suggested that if people wanted to find out more, they should look for their local astronomy society” Anthony Southwell, the chairman of the society, said the interest in amateur astronomy tends to be cyclical, although it has always been more difficult to attract younger people, especially women. “We have definitely seen a surge again because of Stargazing Live. It’s really kicked things off again.”

Patrick Moore, who has just celebrated the 700th edition of the BBC’s Sky at Night, is credited with attracting several generations of serious astronomers into their craft, including Professor Cox himself, and Brian May, the Queen guitarist who three years ago finished his PhD in astronomy. Mr Moore has has always proudly emphasised that he is an amateur.

Paul Roche, an astronomer at Cardiff University, said technical improvements in commercial astronomy equipment, especially the latest digital cameras, are allowing amateurs to match the sort of discoveries that could once be made only by professionals.

“My view is that there is an awful lot of sky out there, and not enough astronomers to keep an eye on it, so the more the merrier,” Dr Roche said. “The amateurs tend to look at the beauty of the images, where we tend to look at the numbers and the astrophysics behind the discoveries.”

Amateur star sleuths

* The comet discovered by Carolyn and Gene Shoemaker and David Levy in 1993 struck Jupiter in a collision observed around the world..

* In 1995 factory manager Thomas Bopp co-discovered, along with professional astronomer Alan Hale, the comet that became known as Hale-Bopp.

* In 2010, amateur British astronomer Nick Howes took the first pictures showing a split in the icy nucleus of Comet C2007 C3 using professional telescopes remote-controlled over the internet. “

I know this article’s length may exhaust some, but its contents are important for raising awareness for darker skies around the globe. Similar to a viral video, once one has seen a clear, unobstructed sky, word begins to get out. It becomes an infection, spreading amongst the masses. Once the infection infects the brain, one begins to hunger, to long for that moment once again.

For those who have seen a perfect, dark night, consider yourself privileged. In our ‘modern’ times, most haven’t seen such a sight. Sure, one can view a dark, night sky in national parks, but as population continues to rise, encroachment from nearby cities begins to rise as well. But what exactly is the main issue regarding light pollution. It’s simple. We need to globally, fundamentally change how we perceive light fixtures. Traditional light fixtures are unshielded and terribly inefficient with electricity. Shielded lights, coupled with energy efficient light bulbs and motion sensors, delivers concentrated light when you need it.

If you’re not convinced, I implore you to see a dark night sky. Trust me, if you’ve never seen one, you will remember the experience.

Let there be night!

Where Is The ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’?

Posted on March 17, 2011 by Noel

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” “KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 (Bernama) – Remember the popular nursery rhyme ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’?

The rhyme goes as:

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are!

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky!”

The lyrics were taken from an early 19th-century English poem, “The Star” written by by Jane Taylor.

NO MORE STARS AT NIGHT?

“I don’t see many stars lighting up the night sky now. Worse still, I can’t see any star during most of the nights,” said businessman T.S. Wee.

Wee, also an environmentalist stays in Kota Damansara, near here. The 55-year-old businessman said he still could see some stars when he returned to his home village near Tumpat in Kelantan.

The father of four said he remembered sitting outside his house or by simply looking out from the window of the house to see many stars lighting up the night sky during his boyhood days.

“My primary school science teacher also told us about the various constellations of stars like the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Big Bear and Orion The Hunter that could be pictured by looking at the stars. Now it is rare to see these stars,” he said.

WHY IS THAT SO?

“I think it is due to light pollution particularly in the urban areas. That is why we can see more stars in the night sky when we are at rural villages that have less lightings as compared to towns and cities.

Light pollution is defined as any illumination of the night sky caused by obtrusive artificial light.

Light pollution has become a serious environmental challenge. Most light pollution is a result of urbanisation and poorly designed fixtures.

Experts say that much of the lighting that causes light pollution is unnecessary. Among these light sources are the streetlamps, stadium lights and advertising boards.

However light pollution can be controlled, according to experts. Authorities can draw up regulations to reduce the unneccessary lightings while housing and building developers can work on utilising energy efficient lighting and fixtures.

OVER ILLUMINATION

Over illumination is one of the causes of light pollution. Over illumination is the use of artificial light beyond its specified purpose.

Social activist Gurmukh Singh said it is excessive to leave the workplace lights on after working hours.

“If we switched off the lights after working hours, we can also save the energy,” he said.

STREET LAMPS

Gurmukh Singh also said the light pollution in the atmosphere is getting worse nowadays due to the illumination from the street lamps, outdoor advertising, homes, airports and other sources.

“Every night millions of lighted sources send their energy skyward where air molecules, airborne dust, and water vapour droplets reflect much of the light back to Earth,” he said.

According to Gurmukh Singh exterior home lighting is a primary source of light pollution.

“Street lamps, stadium and sports fields, advertising boards and parking lots, when not in use, also contributed to the problem.

He said not enabling to see stars in the night sky is most troubling for children.

“Just imagine if generations of children in cities and suburban areas growing up without knowing what a sky full of thousands of stars might look like.

“People used to describe their beautiful experience in viewing the night time sky. And now I am afraid that these people can count on their fingers the number of times they have seen a night with many stars.” “

Yes. There existed a time when all could see the naked night sky above, unobstructed by any artificial sources. Now, in most urban areas around the globe, most residents can not claim to have seen dark pristine skies above their home. Unfortunately, light pollution is a consequence of living in a city. If you want to see darker skies, one must leave the city towards the countryside. Cities and dark skies don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they’re not, but why have we made them so? Poor lighting principles. The belief ‘more is better’ is a fallacy. The reason we have so many commercial and residential lights erected, is because they lack proper shielding. Folks. I can’t stress the importance of shielding enough. Without proper shielding, light escapes upwards, where we don’t need it. Proper shielding directs the light downward, where we actually need it. Since proper shielding concentrates the light downward, we don’t need as many light fixtures to illuminate an area. Traditional lighting principles relied on many lights to illuminate an area, due to the lack of proper shielding. Which would you rather prefer? Do more for less? or Do more for more? I for one, would always choose the former. Here at Starry Night Lights, we’re committed to eliminating light pollution around the globe and educating consumers and retailers the benefits of shielded light fixtures.

Let there be night!

SXSW 2011 – The City Dark – REVIEW

Posted on March 14, 2011 by Noel

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“The City Dark Illuminates, Could Shine Brighter.

Austin, TX – The City Dark, recently had its world premiere in the Documentary Feature competition at this year’s SXSW film festival.

The environmental film explores the issue of light pollution, and the disappearance of starlight in the urban sprawl of industrialized nations.

Directed and narrated by filmmaker Ian Cheney (King Corn), the film follows his personal quest to answer the question, “What do we lose, when we lose the night.” By interviewing various astronomers, biologists, historians, photographers, and even boy scouts, we learn that there is quite a lot at stake in the ‘open 24/7’ culture of the world, and what better starting point for Cheney’s journey than in the city that never sleeps.

Moving from the natural beauty of Maine, to the concrete jungle of New York City, he soon discovers that his childhood fascination with observing stars becomes difficult amid the glowing city lights that block out the night sky.

Cheney, an astrophotographer himself uses the missing stars as a catalyst for the documentary. We follow his travels around the globe as he documents the quality of sky using his own method of judging the night, through a letter grading scale, A to F. As you would expect some areas are far worse than others, but the impact that major cities have on the surrounding areas, is surprising, stretching for miles in all directions.

Witnessing the affect of artificial lights on nature through disoriented sea turtles on a beach in Miami, is a heartfelt moment in the film. And the death of birds who collide with buildings in Chicago, gives viewers a sense of the harsh reality urban growth has caused.

The correlation of health hazards of late-night shift work, cancer and melatonin regulation in the body, are intriguing, and something I wish the filmmakers had explored more in depth, rather than focusing on the, “if and when” a killer asteroid would hit the earth.

While the film drifts between interviews, and Cheney’s own memories of childhood star-observing, with a sort of dreamlike calm, The City Dark at times feels as if the important subject matter is something to be taken lightly. The music in the film for example, and Cheney’s soft, almost sleepy narration add to the nonchalant, pedestrian pace. For an issue as serious as this, there does not seem to be a sense of urgency with the energy of the film falling relatively flat.

Though the film lacks the production values of BBC’s Planet Earth series, and the narrative skill of David Suzuki, The City Dark still manages to highlight an easily overlooked problem of industrial progress, through breathtaking time lapse photography, and charming cartoon animation throughout the film.

It doesn’t delve deep into solutions, or new technologies that would help reverse the damage made, nor does it highlight any large political efforts in major urban areas where the biggest light pollution offences exist.

The City Dark does however call attention to an important issue, and serves as a poignant reminder that the earth is not the center of the universe. The message to preserve the natural night sky, is one that should resonate with city dwellers and non-urban dwellers, alike.”

Ever notice how clear the night sky is in films? Especially in locations where an inconceivable amount of light pollution exists? Next time you watch a movie, take note of how the sky is portrayed in the film. Depending on the medium, some films show an honest portrayal, while others show a more fantastical portrayal. The aforementioned film, ‘The City Dark’, explores real dark and bright locations in the United States. Hopefully, if this film garners enough recognition, perhaps more and more individuals will be empowered to make a difference around the globe.

Let there be night!

Lights out! Jasper National Park to be named world’s largest dark-sky preserve

Posted on March 11, 2011 by Noel

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The Milky Way appears to explode from Athabasca Glacier along the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park, the largest dark sky preserve in Canada.
Photograph by: Yuichi Takasaka, edmontonjournal.com

EDMONTON — Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent will formally proclaim Alberta’s Jasper National Park the world’s largest dark-sky preserve on Friday.

“It’s very seldom when I say we should celebrate the fact that we’re in the dark, but I think in this case there is reason to pop a cork or two,” he said from Ottawa this week.

A dark-sky preserve — an area in which no artificial light is visible and measures are in place to educate and promote the reduction of light pollution — are officially recognized by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada to offer the public observing sites for night-sky viewing.

At 11,228 square kilometres, Jasper National Park will eclipse the combined total of the rest of the world’s dark-sky preserves, which add up to only one-fifth of the Jasper total.

Of the 11 preserves in Canada, eight are national parks or national historic sites.

Nearly all of south-central Alberta has some degree of light pollution. But most of Jasper National Park has excellent clear skies with no light pollution, Kent said.

And unlike some of the remote dark-sky preserves elsewhere in Canada or the world, it is also highly accessible to the public

Kent said the designation won’t force any changes on the town of Jasper, a popular tourist destination nestled in the Alberta Rockies with a population of about 5,000.

“The parks have always been quite strict in ensuring street lighting, commercial lighting and residential lighting is significantly less than one would find in most of our large urban centres,” he said. “We don’t allow the sorts of commercial signage, for example, or commercial lighting that you would find in a city like Edmonton, or Calgary or Vancouver or Toronto.”

Noting that people wouldn’t go to the town itself to do their observations, Kent said about 97 per cent of the park will be preserved dark space.

Kent confessed he gets a little lost in space when it comes to identifying constellations.

“Wherever I’ve been in the world in my former career as a journalist — and I’ve been in a lot of dark night situations in various parts of the world . . . I struggle when I get much beyond the big dipper and the little dipper and the North Star,” he said.

“But I love being in the company of folks with a deeper knowledge base who can point things out to me . . . And certainly the next time I pass through Jasper I’ll make sure there’s a skilled ranger who can set me straight on what’s where.”

Congratulations Jasper National Park on becoming internationally recognized as the world’s largest dark-sky preserve! More and more individuals from around the world are becoming increasingly aware of how bright our night skies are. News such as this shows a public interest in improving our skies and our lighting principles for future generations to come.

Let there be night!

TVOKids invites you to be a part of Earth Hour at the Ontario Science Centre on March 26

Posted on March 9, 2011 by Noel

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“TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ – On Saturday March 26, Canadians will join millions of people around the world in turning off their lights for an hour to demand action on climate change. TVOKids invites you to be part of it. Join TVOKids at the Ontario Science Centre for three Earth Hour performances, including a free outdoor evening stage show.

The TVOKids Don’t Sit Still Tour, presented by EatRight Ontario, will present three live, high-energy performances with infectious songs and fun dance moves to get the whole family involved. The afternoon performances at 2 pm and 3:30 pm are free with admission to the Ontario Science Centre. The third performance will be part of an Earth Hour celebration at 8 pm in the TELUSCAPE outdoor plaza that is free to all.

TVOKids hosts Kara and Drew will be joined by Enviro Girl and Captain Kent to pair the “Don’t Sit Still” message of healthy eating and healthy lifestyle with the mission of keeping our Earth healthy. As a memento of the show and its message of healthy living, kids receive free “Don’t Sit Still” gift bags.

“The ‘Don’t Sit Still’ shows are a fun way to share important healthy living messages with young children and their parents. The shows take place in communities throughout the province. Encouraging children to be active every day, and to eat more fruits and vegetables leads to the development of good habits for better health and well-being,” says Margarett Best, Ontario’s Minister of Health Promotion and Sport.

Also as part of the outdoor evening show, TVOKids, in partnership with the Ontario Science Centre, proudly presents StarWatch. Now in its fourth year, StarWatch is a Canada-wide experiment that measures light pollution levels during and after Earth Hour.

Following are the details for the three Earth Hour performances at the Ontario Science Centre. Each show is approximately 30 minutes.

Saturday March 26, 2011
Don’t Sit Still Tour performances at 2 pm and 3:30 pm (free with admission to the Ontario Science Centre) and 8 pm (free to all)
Ontario Science Centre
770 Don Mills Road
Toronto, Ontario

About TVO
TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. Celebrating 40 years, TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and supported by thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

Where to find TVO

Cable channel 2 (channel may vary in some areas), Rogers HD channel 580, Bell TV channel 265, Shaw Direct channel 353.”

It’s community events like these which help raise awareness of not only our energy demands but also the negative effects of light pollution. Hopefully, the evening stage show begins in the early evening, rather than later. Why? If the event aims to raise awareness on climate change by turning off the lights for one hour, then having the show later in the evening seems to defeat the purpose of it, no? If it is a night, hopefully the lighting fixtures are properly shielded, directing the light downward. The more we all witness darker night skies, the more we will all yearn for their return!

Let there be night!

All that tech is hurting your sleep, researchers say

Posted on March 8, 2011 by Noel

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“If you’re having trouble getting a solid night’s sleep, the blame may rest on all the gadgets you’re using.

A whopping 95 percent of Americans use some kind of technology an hour before they go to sleep, the National Sleep Foundation found in a poll released today. The organization said Americans are turning on their televisions, mobile phones, computers, or video game devices before bed “at least a few nights a week.”

The problem: using technology before bed can negatively affect a person’s ability to fall asleep and to get the amount of sleep they need.

“Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour–making it more difficult to fall asleep,” Dr. Charles Czeisler, a professor at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement. “This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep.”

When it comes to television before bed, age is a distinguishing factor. The National Sleep Foundation said that 67 percent of baby boomers watch TV every night or nearly every night an hour before they try to sleep, while 63 percent of Generation X folks do the same. Half of all people between the ages of 13 and 18, also known as Generation Z, watch television every night, while 49 percent of Generation Y–folks between 19 and 29–say they flick on their set.

With other devices, however, Generation Y and Generation Z lead the way.

The National Sleep Foundation found that 61 percent of Americans use a laptop or computer an hour before they go to bed. Generation Z and Generation Y were most likely to engage in that activity with 55 percent and 47 percent of people in those groups saying they use a computer before bed, respectively. Generation Z and Generation Y members are nearly twice as likely as baby boomers to play a video game an hour before trying to go to sleep, the organization said.

The National Sleep Foundation also examined mobile-phone use before bed. And not surprisingly, 56 percent of Generation Z users and 42 percent of Generation Y respondents send or receive text messages an hour before going to sleep. Just 15 percent of Generation X and 5 percent of baby boomers do the same.

Use of technology prior to bed can affect more than just sleep, researchers say.

Lauren Hale, an assistant professor at Stony Brook University Medical Center, said that the “higher use of these potentially more sleep-disruptive technologies among younger generations may have serious consequences for physical health, cognitive development and other measures of well being.”

Hale’s comments follow a study released in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism in January that found light at night can cause high blood pressure and diabetes. Even more disconcerting, a study released last year by the University of Haifa found that light at night can increase cancer risks, as well.

“Exposure to LAN (light at night) disrupts our biological clock and affects the cyclical rhythm that has developed over hundreds of millions of evolutionary years that were devoid of LAN,” researchers at the University of Haifa said at the time. “Light pollution as an environmental problem is gaining awareness around the world, and the World Health Organization…has already classified working the night shift as a higher grade of cancer risk.”"

How enlightening. I don’t need to tell you how critical obtaining proper rest is to overall productivity during the day. Yes, our bodies can adapt towards a more nocturnal sleep schedule, but if there’s light to disrupt us while we sleep, the same amount of damage is done if we were using a more diurnal sleep schedule. Whenever we sleep, eliminating light helps our bodies produce melatonin and allows us that feeling of a good night’s sleep. Turn off the lights in your house, whether they are lighting lamps or electronics, and shield your outdoor lights. Only then, can we dream of seeing the heavens above in all its glory.

Let there be night!

Study finds amplification of light pollution by clouds is large

Posted on March 7, 2011 by Noel

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“A new study has found that clouds amplify ecological light pollution to a large extent.

“We found that overcast skies were almost three times brighter than clear at our rural location, and ten times as bright within the city itself,” says the lead author of the study, Dr. Christopher Kyba at the Free University of Berlin.

“The astronomers who founded the study of light pollution were concerned with how sky glow obscured the stars on perfectly clear nights and researchers studying the potential influences of sky glow on human or ecosystem health often cite the results from satellite measurements taken on clear nights,” Kyba said.

“What our study shows is that when considering biological impact on humans and the environment, the amplification of light pollution by clouds is large, and should be taken into account.”

Researchers compared clear and cloudy sky brightness data taken using “Sky Quality Meters” during five months in the spring and summer of 2010.

Two monitoring stations took data at locations 10 and 32 km from the center of Berlin.

“Recognition of the negative environmental influences of light pollution has come only recently,” says Dr. Franz Holker, ecologist, study author, and project leader of Verlust der Nacht (VdN – Loss of the Night).

“Now that we have developed a software technique to quantify the amplification factor of clouds, the next step is to expand our detection network. The Sky Quality Meter is an inexpensive and easy to operate device, so we hope to recruit other researchers and citizen-scientists from around the world to build a global database of nighttime sky brightness measurements.”

The research was reported on March 2nd, 2011, in the open access journal PLoS ONE. (ANI)”

Let’s face it. We can’t remove clouds nor can we turn the illuminance of a full moon at night, because these are naturally occurring phenomenon. One thing we can change though is how we design light fixtures. If light fixtures utilize proper shielding, then no light can trespass nor escape upwards. This means darker skies for all. This is Starry Night Lights in a nutshell. We’re lighting experts committed to eradicating light pollution, once and for all, around the globe.

Let there be night!

Light pollution blighting Hong Kong residents’ lives

Posted on March 3, 2011 by Noel

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Bright neon signs and huge flashing advertising boards have become ubiquitous in Hong Kong, but for some residents the impact on their daily lives, and the value of their property, has become intolerable.

Chiu Mung-ngor bought her flat for $3.3 million on the 32nd floor of a luxury apartment building but has since struggled to rent it out after a three-storey LED advertising billboard was erected on the roof of a neighbouring shopping mall.

The mall called ‘The One’ claims to have turned down the brightness of the signboard according to the Environmental Protection Department but Mrs Mung-ngor disputes this.

Before the city’s airport was moved to Lantau Island in 2000 flashing lights were banned. Since Friends Of The Earth claim there has been a large increase in the amount of light pollution.

Their environmental affairs manager Hahn Chu Hon-keung said: “The population has grown less than six percent in the last ten years but the energy consumption jumped to 80 percent. What wastage.”

Such is a consequence of living in a metropolitan city: excessive light pollution. Given the relative humidity in much of East and Southeast Asia, opening your window to allow fresh air circulate your apartment is vital in preventing or reducing mold growth. But how can one do that, if one wishes to block out the noise and light from outside? Curtains and some blinds can hinder air flow but are absolutely necessary in some areas, according to the article. It’s time we rethink how we perceive lighting at night. Light pollution has brandished its sword and it’s time we fight back by blocking its attack by shielding our lights, then riposte and slay light pollution – once and for all. All for one and one for all!

Let there be night!

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