Your Online Guide To Light Pollution
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Light pollution is becoming an issue that more people are becoming aware of with
growing concern. Light pollution by definition is the adverse effects of
excessive artificial light. It includes the alteration of natural light both
outdoors and indoors. It makes seeing the stars in the night sky almost
impossible in bigger cities, as well as interfering with the observation of the
night sky for astronomers. It is also disrupting our ecosystems, and can have
adverse effects on our wildlife. There have been studies that show that light
pollution can also have negatives effects on our health.
Glare is the light that shines into a drivers eyes as they drive down the road.
Glare can be very dangerous because it causes reduced visibility while driving,
and is the cause of many accidents. An example glare would be the lights on a
neighborhood street that shine directly down into a drivers eyes. These lights
are there with the intent of increasing the security in a neighborhood, when
they are actually reducing it because both drivers and pedestrians can’t see
well. There are two kinds of glare; blinding glare and disability glare. Both
kinds can be dangerous for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Light clutter is the excessive grouping of lights. It can cause confusion as
well as distract people from obstacles. Light clutter can lead to accidents both
on the road and in the sky. It is found along roads where there are many
brightly lit advertisements or even just streetlights that are not designed
properly. On runways, the lights of nearby commercial lighting can cause light
clutter. This causes confusion for pilots trying to land planes.
Light trespass is unwanted light on other people’s property. For example, a
house in a neighborhood has a bright light on their house that shines brightly
into the window of their neighbor’s home. Light trespass can cause sleep
deprivation. There are many cities and towns in the U.S. that now have standards
and ordinances in respect to outdoor lighting. A simple change in light fixtures
can be the first step in reducing light trespass.
The concept of over-illumination is simply excessive light. Over-illumination
can include the amount of light used in areas both when they are occupied and
unoccupied. There are studies that show that over-illumination can lead to
adverse health effects including headaches, stress, and high blood pressure. One
of the biggest causes of over-illumination is light in unoccupied rooms. Many
commercial buildings keep the lights on even when the workforce has gone for the
day. This results in a large amount of wasted energy.
Sky glow is the effect that looks like an orange glow in the sky that is seen
over highly populated places. It is a combination of all the light reflecting
and escaping up to the sky, and then being redirected by the atmosphere back
down towards the earth. Sky glow is measured on a scale with nine classes. The
night sky is rated according to how dark it is and how visible the sky glow is.
The best way to reduce sky glow it to choose lights that limit amount of light
that reflects up.
Consequences of Light Pollution
Resources for Reducing Light Pollution
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