Light Pollution and Dark Skies
We need to reduce light pollution
The International Dark-Sky Association shows us how
It’s obvious that light pollution is a bummer for stargazers. But light pollution also wastes energy, disrupts wildlife and ecosystems, can harm our health and can negatively affect our vision and safety at night.
The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) works to protect night skies in over 50 countries around the world. They have designated over 130 International Dark Sky Places, have supported over 23 dark sky communities, have chapters in 18 countries, and have certified over 1000 dark sky friendly lighting fixtures.
Despite the progress the IDA has made, light pollution continues to spread. According to their website, ‘eight out of ten people live under a light-polluted night sky, at least three billion dollars is wasted on outdoor lighting each year in the U.S., and virtually every species studied has been harmed by light pollution.'
The work of the IDA continues in many forms, including public education, changing policies, grassroots actions and research. Go to their website to see how to learn more and take action. Here are some examples of what you can do:
Dark Sky News for Colorado
The IDA has certified Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument as a Dark Sky Park!
Mesa Verde National Park has been accredited as the 100th International Dark Sky Park.
Larger cities are brightening the skies of Colorado, and some people are pushing back to protect Colorado's dark skies. (Denver Post, January 2021)
In 2019 Governor Jared Polis declared that June is Dark Sky Month in Colorado.
5280 Magazine has an article describing six of Colorado’s Best Stargazing Destinations.
Light Pollution Topics in the LAS Newsletter Archives
Dark Skies Matter by Rebecca Dickson. This presentation summary includes an explanation of why the western half of the US is darker than the east.
September 2020, page 23
LAS member Clarke Yeager builds his own spectrometer, uses it to show effectiveness of Astronomical light filter against sodium and mercury street light pollution
December 2019, page 5
Light Pollution Filters on an OSC camera under Light Polluted Skies by Eddie Hunnell (with links to slide show)
November 2018, page 20
Brief mention of Norwood, Colorado's IDA Dark-Sky Certification process
June 2016, page 6
Mention of a Wall Street Journal article on adverse health effects of light pollution; possible links to breast cancer and colorectal cancer
A solution to dealing with overly-bright street lights
April 2002, page 3
Governor signs Colorado Outdoor Lighting Regulation bill
June 2001, page 3