Space reflections – Light pollution

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and noticed that you can’t see as many stars as you used to? That is because of light pollution. When there is too much artificial light in an area, it makes it hard to see faint things in the sky, like galaxies, the stars and nebulae. In essence rendering the sky dusty as we normally put it. Its like trying to see through fog – the more fog there is, the harder it is to see things far away.

Light pollution occurs when artificial light sources, such as streetlights, billboards, and buildings, emit excessive and unnecessary light into the sky. This excess light pollution can have negative effects on not only astronomers, but also insects and people who live in areas with prominent levels of light pollution.

One of the most significant impacts of light pollution on astronomy is that it reduces the visibility of stars and other celestial objects in the night sky. This is because the artificial light causes the sky to brighten, making it more difficult to see faint objects like stars and galaxies. This can be particularly problematic for professional astronomers, who need clear and dark skies to conduct their research.

Light pollution also affects stargazing for amateur astronomers and stargazers. It can be difficult to appreciate the beauty of the night sky when it is clouded by light pollution, and it can be challenging to identify and observe stars and other objects in the sky. Additionally, light pollution can make it difficult for photographers to capture clear images of the night sky.

Insects are also affected by light pollution. Insects, including moths and other flying insects, are attracted to light sources. This can be problematic because these insects can become disoriented and may spend hours flying around a light source instead of performing their natural behaviours. I am certain what you read above gave you an answer to the “butterfly” that has been on a merry-go around your bedroom light. This can disrupt ecosystems and lead to declines in insect populations, which can have ripple effects throughout the food chain.

People living in areas with elevated levels of light pollution may experience negative health effects. Exposure to artificial light at night can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythms, which can lead to sleep disturbances and other health problems. A circadian rhythm is the natural cycle of physical, mental, and behaviour changes that the body goes through in a 24-hour cycle. An example is sleeping at night and being awake during the day. Additionally, light pollution can cause glare and make it difficult to see while driving at night.

Light pollution is a significant problem that affects astronomy, stargazing, insects, and people. To combat light pollution, individuals and communities can take steps to reduce unnecessary and excessive outdoor lighting, such as using motion sensors to activate lights only when necessary, shielding outdoor lights, and using energy-efficient bulbs. By taking these steps, we can preserve the beauty of the night sky and protect the environment and our health.