Light pollution changes the look of the night sky

When brightly lit horizons and cities that “never sleep” become the norm, it’s easy to forget how the starry sky looks. The new short film Lost in Light II, dedicated to light pollution, is a visual reminder of this problem.

The astrophotographer Sriram Murali recorded the night sky illumination on several levels: from San Francisco (level 8) to the Goblin Valley park in Utah (level 1).

A two-minute panorama follows the constellation of Orion, showing how light pollution in major US cities hides almost all the stars. At the same time in rural areas, free from night illumination, even the Milky Way is visible.

For those who live in the city, the stars and the Milky Way in the sky may seem strange. But in places like the National Parks of Arches and Canyonlands in Utah, a thick scattering of constellations is common.

In the world there are several so-called “Dark Sky Reserves” where you can see stars and even interstellar dust clouds in the Milky Way. The International Association of the Dark Skies in the United States recently granted this status to a 1,400-square-mile site in Central Idaho.
Light pollution does not just interfere with the survey. In recent years, researchers have associated artificial night lighting with a variety of problems affecting both humans and animals. These are sleepless nights, and even more extreme consequences.

“In less than a century, we radically changed our night environment. And we are just beginning to realize the consequences, “explains Murali.
Light pollution affects our health, disturbs sleep, increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, hormonal disorders and other diseases. Millions of birds die every year, crashing into brightly lit buildings. The cubs of turtles because of the night lights are straying from the path and do not reach the sea.

Fortunately, there are ways how to fix the situation. Recently, Murali released another video about light pollution, which gives a study of various areas of California. Suggested solutions to reduce the effects of light pollution include the use of screened lighting, LEDs with a low color temperature (2700 K and less) and motion sensors instead of lamps that work all night.

“Several cities and municipalities have recently switched to the dark sky, and people welcome change. They almost did not notice any differences in lighting and admitted that they do not like sharp artificial light, “the author said.

“Fighting light pollution does not mean you have to turn off all your lights. This assumes only a more reasonable approach to the choice of lighting. ”