Light Pollution

Topics: Light pollution, Lighting, Light Pages: 8 (3131 words) Published: May 4, 2004
Light pollution happened slowly at first which was several decades ago it was a process that was hardly noticeable. A light here, a light there, burning way into the dark nighttime realm, helping us see in the darkness when people all their our beds fast asleep. The process still continues today, with little thought ever given to what we are stealing away. Our intentions are good but our methods need adjustment, and they needs to be done immediately. In fact, our methods should have been changed years ago, but nearly everyone has resisted, perhaps due to a profound lack of awareness. The use of too many lights at night can cause environmental pollution, known as light pollution. Light pollution can block our ability to see the original shining stars, which can affect people's discoveries in astronomy. But since the lights are also very important for us at night when we are driving or walking alone on a street, I think there are certainly some solutions for protecting our natural environment while we can also use the lights at the same time. To admire the beautiful stars in the sky instead of looking at it in a picture, we can start to save energy resources by cutting off some unnecessary lights such as commercial building lights, outdoor residential lights, and by using shielded light to reduce the amount of light that we use in certain areas. Light pollution is when sky glow produced by the scattering of artificial light caused by the poor quality of outdoor lighting (Nakata) causing too much wasted light dispersed upwards. Therefore recent studies show that "Nationally, more than 30% of the electricity generated for outdoor illumination is simply squandered by being misdirected into the sky. That comes to 4.5 billion dollars annually" (Lipsitz) for the electricity generated to send light into the sky and across property lines where it serves no benefit. Wasted light sent to the sky needlessly and seriously affects scientific research today for professional and amateur astronomers along with some NASA research. Astronauts have complained about this problem for years. Astronomical observatories are closing down because they can no longer see enough celestial objects to justify continuing their funding or research. For example, the Hubble telescope's research is interrupted by light pollution, it was affected so much that astronomers did not get to see certain crashing comets that crash into gravity pulling plants like earth. Astronomers cannot see these comets until they get close enough even if one of these comets was coming toward earth. So if a crashing comet was coming towards earth for impact, the astronomers might not get to see it until it might be too late for the government to do something to destroy it in a safe distance from earth. But we are lucky that the only time this happened before was in the instance where the comets were the size of briefcases and they evaporated in the atmosphere, but maybe the next time mankind might not be so lucky. So by using only the amount of light we need in different areas, we would be able to properly manage our light resource and easily solve this problem. This will save towns, its citizens, and its business owner's lots of money. It will improve the quality of life for everyone who has directed light unnecessarily beaming into their windows and across their yards at night. It will vastly improve the safety for all drivers and pedestrians, and it will greatly enhance the nighttime appearance of people's community's by removing the needless visual clutter and glare that is always typical of obtrusive outdoor lighting.

There are several types of light pollution, such as glare, the light that blinds and harms our eyes; light trespass, which is when someone uses a light resource that offends us; clutter, that makes the objects difficult to see at night; and energy waste. Light pollution is caused by light coming from improperly designed street and parking lot lights that are...

Cited: Page
Lipsitz, Joshua D. "Preliminary results of an Internet survey." Light pollution (13 Feb. 2001): 26
Mullen, Rutledge M. and Swain S. Modeling the Process of Science: Investigating the effects of light pollution. Tennessee: Middle Tennessee State University, 1987.
Nakata, Goshima K. "Despite light." Journal of the Galaxy. 23.4 (1997): 897-907
"Shields to make light work of city pollution." Nature 416: 6879 (28 Mar.2002): 358-364
Nadis, Steve. "Biologists join drive to turn down the lights." Nature 419: 6910 (31Oct. 2002): 868
Rao, Joe. "A clean, well-lighted planet." Natural History 106:7 (Sep. 97): 70
Wainwright, Martin. "Bright lights do not deter criminals." The Guardian
(21 Nov. 2003): 14
Haas, Cliff. "Where has the night sky gone, and why should we care?"(Apr. 2000): 282
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