Can we solve the growing problem of light pollution?
A June 2018 www.naturalnews.com article called “Light pollution is a growing problem: What you can do” discusses a century old phenomenon plaguing the developed worlds.
For thousands of years, we managed with candles, fires and lanterns. However, since the early 1900’s light pollution has grown exponentially to affect 66% of the population as maps show Europe practically has no dark skies left, much like Japan and Eastern North America.
We in Western Canada are comparatively lucky and the fact is most of the geographic world is still dark at night like the ancients experienced.
According to www.space.com columnist Joe Rao’s the harmful effects of light pollution is not just on casual stargazing but “22,000 Gigawatt hours ($2.2 Billion)” of electricity annually are wasted due to poorly designed streetlamps. Negative effects on wildlife according to a report from CityLab.com includes “Lights on skyscrapers, airports, and stadiums attracting birds into urban areas, where they smack into walls, windows, each other, or flap around eventually perishing from exhaustion-related complications.”
On human life, it’s worse as it upsets our internal clock leading up to and including cancer. Rao points to solutions of proper shielding that direct all light downwards where it’s necessary.
He also suggests switching to “warm white LEDs,” with minimal blue emissions and avoid using extra lights altogether.
The less LED lights there are around, the better. I’ve had my farm lights off for 20 years and I love it.
An excellent free documentary I’ve recommended for years is PBS’s “The City Dark” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGyFsMCsQNE.
Sky watch for the next month:
1. Bright Venus at Sunset- Friday, Sept. 21 at sunset look SW at around 7:30 p.m. to catch this before it sets at 8 p.m.. If you have a good binos, you can actually see it cresting like the Moon!
2. Harvest Moon Rise-Monday, Sept. 24, look east at 7:40 p.m. for a spectacular upsurge which will seem huge.
3. Fall Equinox- On Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:54 p.m. the summer’s officially over.
4. Zodiacal Light- is a faint, roughly triangular, whitish glow seen in the night sky extended up from the vicinity of the sun along the ecliptic or zodiac. Discovered by the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini in 1683 and later explained by Nicolas Fatio de Duillier in 1684, it’s trying to find and the best time is from Sept. 5 for two weeks in the east morning twilight. Public Events for the next month: Happy Fall and shorter days.
Neel Roberts is a member of the Calgary chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada-the nation’s leading astronomy club founded in 1868 with over 5,000 members and 29 centers across Canada. Neel welcomes your questions and comments at (403) 5606574, www.ptccanada.com. The members meet once a month on weekends at Calgary’s Rothney Observatory near Priddis and you can check out times at https://www.ucalgary.ca/rao/calendar. Like them at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ groups/272037680377/, Twitter https://twitter.com/ CalgaryRASC & YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/RASCCalgary.
ROBERTS YOUR UNIVERSE