Media about dark skies
"Losing the Dark"
Starry skies are a vanishing treasure because light pollution is washing away our view of the cosmos. It not only threatens astronomy but also disrupts wildlife, and affects human health. The glows over cities and towns — seen so clearly from space — are a testament to the billions of dollars spent in wasted energy by lighting up the sky.
“Losing the Dark” is the result of a collaboration between IDA and Loch Ness Productions. It introduces and illustrates some of the issues regarding light pollution and suggests three simple actions people can take to help mitigate it.
Understanding the value of dark skies
Mar 29, 2019
We in Southern Arizona should be well up on the advantages of appreciating and protecting our dark sky, given that Astronomy is such an important industry in the state. No one likes to feel unsafe at night, but the havoc created by all the artificial lights of our towns and cities cannot be minimized.
According to information on the MAG Dark Sky Stakeholders group site, the Phoenix metropolitan area can be seen from the International Space Station — and that is not a good thing.
Very simply, we are “Losing the Dark,” and that is the title of a new youtube 6-minute video explaining the night sky situation; we encourage you to check it out.
In 2003 a high-school student, Jennifer Barlow, started International Dark Sky Week, which has grown to become a worldwide event. Each year it is held in April around Astronomy Day. This year celebrations begin today and run through Sunday April 7, 2019.
In explaining why she started the week, Barlow said, “I want people to be able to see the wonders of the night sky without the effects of light pollution … I want to help preserve its wonder.”
The nighttime environment is a crucial natural resource for all life on Earth, but the glow of uncontrolled outdoor lighting has hidden the stars, radically changing the nighttime environment. See www.darksky.org
Before the advent of electric light in the 20th century, our ancestors experienced a night sky brimming with stars that inspired science, religion, philosophy, art and literature including some of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets.
A growing body of research suggests that the loss of the natural nighttime environment is causing serious harm to human health and the environment.
For nocturnal animals in particular, the introduction of artificial light at night could very well be the most devastating change humans have made to their environment. Light pollution also has deleterious effects on other organisms such as migrating birds, sea turtle hatchlings, and insects.
Humans are not immune to the negative effects of light in their nighttime spaces. Excessive exposure to artificial light at night, particularly blue light, has been linked to increased risk for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes and breast cancer.
The good news is that light pollution is reversible and its solutions are immediate, simple and cost-effective.
Check around home. Shield outdoor lighting, or at least angle it downward, to minimize “light trespass” beyond your property lines. Use light only when and where needed. Motion detectors and timers can help.
National Geographic: Our nights are getting brighter, and Earth is paying the price
Electric lights have revolutionized our lives, but as illumination increases, the toll on wildlife and human health is becoming harder to ignore. Read the full story