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Losing the Night: New Video Highlights Problems of Light Pollution

Light pollution is a two-way murky street. Not only have millions of people never seen the glow of our Milky Way in the night sky because of light pollution, but also when astronauts in the International Space Station look down at Earth, they see lights almost everywhere and a faint green or yellow air-glow — caused mostly by light pollution — hovers over the planet in a majority of the images they send back from space.

“Light pollution threatens the health of every living thing on Earth,” says a new planetarium-like video from the International Dark-Sky Association in collaboration with Loch Ness Productions, a U.S.-based full-dome planetarium show production company.

Air glow (along with a lightning sprite) is visible in this image from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Air glow (along with a lightning sprite) is visible in this image from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA


“Losing the Dark” illustrates problems caused by light pollution, with particular emphasis on how it affects night-sky visibility. But the video also offers simple solutions for mitigating light pollution, and reminds everyone it is not too late to save the starry sky.

Bob Parks, IDA Executive Director said, “Everyone who views ‘Losing the Dark’ can see how easy it is to make wise choices about outdoor lighting, and that together we can work to restore the night sky to its former glory.”

The video is narrated by astronomer Carolyn Collins Petersen, (whose voice you may recognize from past 365 Days of Astronomy podcasts), and the show is also available in full-dome versions for planetariums and science centers as a public service announcement.

“Planetariums champion the night sky already,” Collins Petersen said. “They tap into public awareness, so their audiences are a prime demographic for this message. The show gives planetarium professionals another tool to help educate the public about this critical issue. The HD version extends the message to more people through presentations by educators and dark-sky advocates.”

For more information about the video, see the International Dark Skies Association website.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Anthony Flavell February 28, 2013, 5:29 PM

    Vancouver (my home town) is striving to be the world’s greenest city, yet despite the cost/energy-savings of downward directed street lights have still done nothing. I’ve written to them countless times about this simple measure. Maybe it’s an expensive retrofit? No-one as yet has given me reasons to explain the lack of progress.

  • Aqua4U March 1, 2013, 6:54 AM

    Waste is cousin to greed.. they are related… by blood. Bad blood…SIT!

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